All children under age 2 years and other children who have certain conditions should get vaccinated against pneumococcal disease. There is also a catch-up schedule for children up to age 5 years who have not completed their initial vaccination series.

Pneumococcal disease can range from mild to very serious. About 2,000 cases of serious disease (blood infection, pneumonia with blood infection, and meningitis) occur each year in US children under age 5 years. These cases can cause death or lifelong disability, including deafness, brain damage, and limb amputation.

Although the incidence of pneumococcal disease among teens (adolescents) is the lowest of any age group, about 6.8 million children and adolescents age 2 to 18 years have chronic illnesses―diabetes or chronic heart, lung, liver, or kidney disorders―that place them at high risk for pneumococcal disease and related complications.

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

There are currently two types of pneumococcal vaccines recommended for children in the US: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV15, PCV20) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23). Both vaccines are safe and effective, and side effects may occur. Most side effects are mild such as arm swelling or soreness, and last one or two days.

Who Should Be Vaccinated and Which Pneumococcal Vaccines Do They Need?

  • All children under age 6 years with no previous pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) or incomplete PCV status should receive PCV15 or PCV20
  • Parents of children age 6-18 years with certain medical conditions should speak to a healthcare professional to determine which pneumococcal vaccines their child needs:
    • Lung, heart, liver, or kidney disease
    • Asthma
    • Diabetes
    • 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

Pneumococcal vaccine can be given at the same time as influenza (flu) vaccine. This is important because having flu increases the risk of getting pneumococcal disease. CDC has additional guidance  about other vaccines that can be given at the same time as pneumococcal vaccines.


Updated October 2023

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Related Resources

Sorry, we couldn't find any posts. Please try a different search.