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Pneumococcal Disease and Children

group of childrenPneumococcal disease can cause pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis, and is a serious complication of influenza (flu).

The best way to protect against pneumococcal disease is through vaccination.

There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines currently recommended in the US: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23). Both vaccines are safe and effective, but side effects can occur. Most side effects are mild such as arm swelling or soreness, and last one or two days.


  • All children younger than age 2 years should receive the pneumococcal conjugate vaccination (PCV13) series
  • Healthy children age 2-4 years who are unvaccinated or who did not complete the recommended series should also receive PCV13


  • Adolescents and children age 2 years and older should also receive the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) if they have any of the following:
    • Lung, heart, liver, or kidney disease; asthma; diabetes; or sickle cell disease
    • Conditions that weaken the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, or damaged/absent spleen
    • Cochlear implants or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks

Read more about pneumococcal disease and adolescents.


Reviewed September 2020

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Additional Resources