About the Vaccine:

The pneumococcal vaccine protects against some of the most common forms of the over 90 different kinds of pneumococcal bacteria.


There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines available in the United States:

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV13, PCV15, and PCV20)
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23)

In 2021, 20-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV20) and 15-valent (PCV15) became licensed by the Food and Drug Administration for adults aged 19 years and older.

Who should get the vaccine:

  • All babies and children younger than 2 years old
  • All adults 65 years or older
  • People 2-64 years old with certain medical conditions
  • All adults 65 years or older
  • People 2-64 years old with certain medical conditions
  • Adults 19-64 years old who smoke cigarettes

Schedule information:

  • Infants: 4-dose series at 2, 4, 6 and 12-15 months
  • An extra dose is recommended for children 2-18 years old with underlying medical conditions

Since the development of the vaccine, pneumococcal disease cases in children have fallen by 88%.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Safety & side effects:

Just as with any medication, there are potential side effects to vaccines. Talk to your health care provider about specific side effects associated with this vaccine and learn more about vaccine safety and common side effects.

Pregnancy considerations:

If needed, women should get vaccinated before becoming pregnant, but there is no evidence that pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is harmful to mother or child.

Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of IPD (invasive pneumococcal disease) by as much as 14% per year, returning to normal after 13 years.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

About the Pneumococcal Disease

Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by one of more than 90 types of bacteria, known as Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus. Pneumococcus can cause many types of illnesses, some of which are potentially life-threatening. Anyone can become infected, but it is most common in children. Older adults are at the greatest risk for complications, including death. Additionally, people with certain underlying medical conditions are at a greater risk for the disease. There are two kinds of vaccines that help prevent pneumococcal disease in children and adults.


Pneumococcal bacteria spread from person to person by direct contact with respiratory secretions like saliva or mucus.


Pneumococcus causes many different kinds of infections and diseases, including:

Pneumonia (lung infection)

  • Fever and chills
  • Cough
  • Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain

Pneumococcal Meningitis (infection of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord)

  • Stiff neck
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Photophobia (eyes being more sensitive to light)
  • Confusion

Pneumococcal Bacteremia (blood infection)

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Low alertness

Sepsis (response to infection)

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Shortness of breath
  • High heart rate
  • Fever, shivering or feeling very cold
  • Extreme pain or discomfort
  • Clammy or sweaty skin

Middle Ear Infection

  • Ear pain
  • A red, swollen ear drum
  • Fever
  • Sleepiness

About 18,000 adults die from pneumococcal disease every year.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention