Your Child's Immunizations: Pneumococcal Vaccines (PCV, PPSV)

Your Child's Immunizations: Pneumococcal Vaccines (PCV, PPSV)

Lea este articulo en EspanolThe pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV) protect against pneumococcal infections. The pneumococcus bacterium is a leading cause of serious infections, including pneumonia, blood infections, and bacterial meningitis.

The bacterium is spread through person-to-person contact. So the vaccine not only prevents the infection in children who receive it, it also helps stop the spread of the infection.

Immunization Schedule

PCV immunizations are given as a series of four injections:

Healthy kids ages 2 to 5 who miss the first dose or may have missed subsequent doses due to vaccine shortage should still receive the vaccine. Kids ages 2 to 6 who were vaccinated in the past but have immunocompromising conditions (like asplenia, HIV infection, etc.) may need additional doses of PCV. Unvaccinated kids with these conditions between the ages of 7 to 18 might get a single dose. Your doctor can determine when and how often your child needs to be vaccinated.

Kids 2-18 years old should also receive the PPSV vaccine if they have chronic health conditions, including:

Why the Vaccine Is Recommended

Children younger than 2 years old, adults over 65, and people with certain medical conditions are most susceptible to serious pneumococcal infections. The pneumococcal vaccine is very effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

pneumococcal vaccine illustration

Possible Risks

Children who receive a pneumococcal vaccine may have redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given. A child also might have a fever after receiving the shot. There is a very small chance of an allergic reaction with any vaccine.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

The vaccine is not recommended if your child:

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

The vaccine may cause mild fever and soreness or redness in the area where the shot was given. Depending on your child's age, pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and to find out the appropriate dose.

When to Call the Doctor

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: February 2015

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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Related Resources
Web SiteNational Immunization Program This website has information about immunizations. Call: (800) 232-2522
OrganizationImmunization Action Coalition This organization is a source of childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization information as well as hepatitis B educational materials.
Web SiteCDC: Pre-teen and Teen Vaccines CDC site provides materials in English and Spanish for parents, teens, pre-teens, and health care providers about vaccines and the diseases they prevent.
Web SiteThe History of Vaccines The History of Vaccines is an informational, educational website created by The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the oldest professional society in the United States.
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