What is pneumococcal disease?

  • Pneumococcal disease refers to any illness caused by pneumococcal bacteria. These bacteria can cause many types of illnesses, including pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs.

  • Pneumococcal bacteria can also cause ear infections, sinus infections, meningitis (infection of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord), and bacteremia (bloodstream infection).

Why should someone get the pneumococcal vaccine?

  • The pneumococcal vaccine helps prevent pneumococcal disease.

  • Most pneumococcal infections are mild. However, some can result in death or long-term problems, such as brain damage or hearing loss.

Who SHOULD get the pneumococcal vaccine?

  • All children younger than 2 years old and all adults 65 years or older should get pneumococcal vaccination.

  • In certain situations, older children and other adults should also get pneumococcal vaccines. Talk to a clinician about what is best for your specific situation.

Who should NOT get the pneumococcal vaccine?

  • Anyone who has had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of pneumococcal vaccine, or has any severe, life-threatening allergies.

  • Anyone who has had an allergic reaction to any vaccine containing diphtheria toxoid (for example, DTaP).

Who should talk with their healthcare provider before getting the pneumococcal vaccine?

  • Some people may need multiple or booster doses. Talk with your or your child’s clinician about what is best for your specific situation.

For up-to-date information about the pneumococcal vaccine, go to the CDC’s website. You can also talk with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about the pneumococcal vaccine and your personal health. See more information about the pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13) vaccine. See more information about the pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV23) vaccine.

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