Pneumonia Vaccination

About the Pneumonia

What is pneumonia?

A severe illness caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. It is the most common cause of bloodstream infections, pneumonia, meningitis and middle ear infections in young children. People who get pneumonia are at a higher risk for hospitalization and death.

What about the vaccine?

Prevnar 13® is a pneumococcal conjugate (PCV) vaccine that protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria.

Pneumovax® 23 is a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV) that protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria.

Once vaccinated, most healthy adults develop protection to most or all of these types within 2 to 3 weeks.

Who should get vaccinated?

The CDC recommendations are:

  • All adults 65 and older should receive Prevnar 13, then 1 year later Pneumovax 23
  • Anyone 19 or older with risk factors 

Who should NOT get vaccinated or should wait?

  • Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine
  • Anyone who has a severe allergy to any component or part of a pneumococcal vaccine
  • Anyone who is moderately or severely ill when the shot is scheduled should wait until feeling better
  • Pregnant women

What about side effects?

The most common side effect is redness or pain at the site of the vaccination. Fewer than 1% of those receiving the vaccine develop a fever, muscle aches or more severe local reactions.

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