Pneumococcal Vaccine

What You Need to Know

Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria (“pneumococcus”). These bacteria can cause many types of illnesses, including: pneumonia (infection of the lungs), ear infections, sinus infections, meningitis (infection of the covering around the brain and spinal cord), and bacteremia (blood stream infection).

 It can also lead to serious infections of the:

• Lungs (pneumonia),
• Blood (bacteremia), and
• Covering of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).

Symptoms depend on the part of the body that is infected. They can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, stiff neck, confusion and disorientation, sensitivity to light, joint pain, chills, ear pain, sleeplessness, and irritability. In severe cases, pneumococcal disease can cause hearing loss, brain damage, and death.

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Vaccination can protect both children and adults from pneumococcal disease. The bacteria are spread through coughing, sneezing, and close contact with an infected person.

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13 or Prevnar 13®) protects against the 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria that cause most of the severe illness in children and adults. The vaccine can also help prevent some ear infections. 

Who Should Get the Pneumococcal Vaccine?

PCV13 is recommended for all children at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 12-15 months of age.

The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23 or Pneumovax 23®) protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years or older and for anyone who is 2 years or older at high risk for disease. 

It is also important to get an influenza vaccine every year because having the flu increases your chances of getting pneumococcal disease.

Rainbow Pediatrics strives to provide our patients with the best and most comprehensive pediatric care possible from birth through college. 

From preventative visits to unique health challenges, Rainbow's pediatricians are prepared to treat your child with the friendly, expert care you want and deserve.

We strive to be the community leader in pediatric health each day by delivering a level of care that's second-to-none in Central Ohio. That's why families trust our experienced team to care for their loved ones from infancy to early adulthood.