Your Child's Immunizations: Pneumococcal Vaccines (PCV, PPSV)
The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) protect against pneumococcal infections.
PCV13 protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria, which cause the most common pneumococcal (new-muh-KOK-uhl) infections in kids. PPSV23 protects against 23 types. These vaccines prevent infections in children who get them, and help stop the infections from spreading to others.
When Are PCV and PPSV Immunizations Given?
Infants get PCV13 immunizations as a series of four injections:
- the first at 2 months of age
- then at 4 months, 6 months, and 12–15 months
Some kids older than age 2 also might need a shot of PCV13 if they have missed one or more shots, especially if they have a chronic health condition or a condition that weakens the immune system.
A doctor can decide when and how often a child should get PCV13.
Doctors also recommend PPSV23 immunizations for kids 2–18 years old with some kinds of chronic health conditions. These include:
- heart, lung, or liver disease
- kidney failure
- a weak immune system (such as from cancer, HIV infection, or problems with the spleen)
- cochlear implants
- cerebrospinal fluid leak
Why Are the PCV and PPSV Vaccines Recommended?
Children younger than 2 years old, adults over 65, and people with some medical conditions are at high risk for serious pneumococcal infections. These vaccines are very effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and even death.
What Are the Possible Side Effects of PCV and PPSV Vaccines?
Kids may have redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given. A child also might have a fever after getting the shot. There is a very small chance of an allergic reaction with any vaccine.
The pneumococcal vaccines contain only a small piece of the germ and so cannot cause pneumococcal disease.
When to Delay or Avoid PCV and PPSV Immunization
These vaccines are not recommended if your child:
- is currently sick. But simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization.
- had a serious allergic reaction to an earlier dose of a pneumococcal vaccine or to the DTaP vaccine
Caring for Your Child After PCV and PPSV Immunization
These vaccines may cause mild fever and soreness or redness in the injection area. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain or fever and to find out the right dose.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Call the doctor if:
- Your child missed a dose in the series.
- Your child has a serious allergic reaction or high fever after immunization.
How Vaccines Help
Vaccines keep millions of people healthy each year by preparing the body to fight illness. Learn how vaccines help and get answers to your biggest questions about vaccines.