Vaccines to Prevent Pneumococcal Disease: PPSV23

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine or PPSV23 is for all adults 65 years or older. This is also for those children of age 2 years or older who are at increased risk for the disease.

Updated: December 12, 2017

It is important that children, especially infants and young children, receive recommended immunizations on time. Vaccines also protect teenagers and adults to keep them healthy throughout their lives.
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine or PPSV23 is for all adults 65 years or older. This is also for those children of age 2 years or older who are at increased risk for the disease.
Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus that can spread from person to person through close contact. PCV13 is pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for all infants and children, and adults 19 years and older who are at increased risk for disease.

Different types of pneumococcal disease are:

  • lung infections (pneumonia)
  • blood infections (bacteremia)
  • infections of the covering of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis)
  • middle ear infections (otitis media)
Pneumococcal pneumonia is most common among adults. Pneumococcal meningitis can cause deafness and brain damage.
Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but People who are at the highest risk are:
  • children under 2 years of age
  • adults 65 years and older
  • people with certain medical conditions
  • cigarette smokers
Prevention of the disease through vaccination is important as the treatment of pneumococcal infections with penicillin and other drugs is not as effective as it used to be. This is because some strains of the disease have become resistant to these drugs.

PPSV23 Vaccine:

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. It will not prevent all pneumococcal disease.
PPSV23 is recommended for:
  • All adults 65 years of age and older
  • Anyone of age 2 through 64 years with certain long-term health problems
  • Anyone of age 2 through 64 years with a weakened immune system
  • Adults 19 through 64 years of age who smoke cigarettes or have asthma.
  • Most people need only one dose of PPSV. A second dose is recommended for certain high-risk groups. People 65 and older, even if they have gotten one or more doses of the vaccine before they turned 65 should get a dose after the age of 65.
Your healthcare provider can give you more information about these recommendations. Within 2 to 3 weeks of getting the shot most healthy adults develop protection.

You should not get this vaccine if:

  • you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a dose of PPSV vaccine.
  • you have a severe allergy to any component of PPSV.
  • you are moderately or severely ill when the shot is scheduled. You may be asked to wait until you recover before getting the vaccine. Someone with a mild illness can usually be vaccinated.
  • you are a child of age less than 2 years
There is no evidence that PPSV is harmful to either a pregnant woman or to her fetus. However, if possible as a precaution, women who need the vaccine should be vaccinated before becoming pregnant.

Risks of PCV13 vaccine:

There are chances of side effects which are usually mild and go away on their own. Serious reactions are also possible but are rare.
Problems following PPSV23 are:
  • redness or pain where the shot is given
  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • severe local reactions

Problems that could happen after any vaccine:

  • Sometimes people faint after vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting. If you feel dizzy, have vision changes or ringing in the ears, speak to your doctor.
  • In some cases severe pain in the shoulder and difficulty moving the arm where a shot was given could happen.
  • A severe allergic reaction would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
  • There is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death. The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. You can get all the information from Vaccine Safety site.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. If you have severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or behavior changes , call 9-1-1 or find the nearest hospital.
The reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) through the VAERS website or by calling 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions. They do not give medical advice.
If you are injured by a vaccine, you can file a claim in  National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website to get the compensation.

Learn more about Vaccine:

Your doctor can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.
You can call your local or state health department or can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by:
        Calling 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)
        Visiting  CDC vaccines website


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