Skip to main content

Search
Growth and Development

Your Child's Immunizations: Pneumococcal Vaccines (PCV, PPSV)

|

Lea este articulo en EspanolThe pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV) protect against pneumococcal infections. The pneumococcus bacterium is a leading cause of serious infections, including pneumonia, blood infections, and bacterial meningitis.

The bacterium is spread through person-to-person contact. So the vaccine not only prevents the infection in children who receive it, it also helps stop the spread of the infection.

Immunization Schedule

PCV immunizations are given as a series of four injections:

  • first at 2 months of age
  • then at 4 months, 6 months, and 12-15 months

Healthy kids ages 2 to 5 who miss the first dose or may have missed subsequent doses due to vaccine shortage should still receive the vaccine. Kids ages 2 to 6 who were vaccinated in the past but have immunocompromising conditions (like asplenia, HIV infection, etc.) may need additional doses of PCV. Unvaccinated kids with these conditions between the ages of 7 to 18 might get a single dose. Your doctor can determine when and how often your child needs to be vaccinated.

Kids 2-18 years old should also receive the PPSV vaccine if they have chronic health conditions, including:

  • heart, lung, or liver disease
  • diabetes
  • kidney failure
  • weakened immune system (such as from cancer or HIV infection)
  • cochlear implants

Why the Vaccine Is Recommended

Children younger than 2 years old, adults over 65, and people with certain medical conditions are most susceptible to serious pneumococcal infections. The pneumococcal vaccine is very effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

Possible Risks

Children who receive a pneumococcal vaccine may have redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given. A child also might have a fever after receiving the shot. There is a very small chance of an allergic reaction with any vaccine.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

The vaccine is not recommended if your child:

  • is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
  • has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of a pneumococcal vaccine or to the DTaP vaccine

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

The vaccine may cause mild fever and soreness or redness in the area where the shot was given. Depending on your child's age, pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and to find out the appropriate dose.

When to Call the Doctor

  • Call if your child missed a dose in the series.
  • Call if a severe allergic reaction or high fever occurs after immunization.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: February 2013

License

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995–2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.

Should your child see a doctor?

Find out by selecting your child’s symptom or health condition in the list below:

Spring 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Cold Water Shock Can Quickly Cause Drowning
  • E-Cigs Are Addictive and Harmful
  • Bystanders Can Intervene to Stop Bullying

Download Spring 2014 (PDF)

Videos

Overcoming the Odds: A KING 5 TV Children's HealthLink Special 0:44:45Expand
12.30.13

In the spirit of the holidays, patients, parents and doctors share inspirational stories of healing and hope. From surviving heart failure and a near-death drowning to battling a flesh-eating disease, witness how the impossible became possible thanks to the care patients received at Seattle Children's Hospital.

Play Video
Miracle Season 2013 0:57:06Expand
12.11.13

Miracle Season, hosted by Steve Pool and Molly Shen, aired Dec. 8, 2013, on KOMO 4 TV. The annual holiday special celebrates the remarkable lives of Seattle Children's patients.

Play Video
Children’s Mental Health 0:00:30Expand
11.22.13

Mark Fadool, clinical director of mental health services at Odessa Brown Children's Clinic, provides early warning signs of mental health issues in kids and teens and urges us all to notice the signs and act early.

Play Video