Pneumococcal disease Pneumococcal Infections Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococci) are gram-positive, alpha-hemolytic, aerobic, encapsulated diplococci. Pneumococcal infection is a major cause of otitis media, pneumonia, sepsis... read more (eg, otitis media Otitis Media (Acute) Acute otitis media is a bacterial or viral infection of the middle ear, usually accompanying an upper respiratory infection. Symptoms include otalgia, often with systemic symptoms (eg, fever... read more , pneumonia Overview of Pneumonia Pneumonia is acute inflammation of the lungs caused by infection. Initial diagnosis is usually based on chest x-ray and clinical findings. Causes, symptoms, treatment, preventive measures, and... read more , sepsis Sepsis and Septic Shock Sepsis is a clinical syndrome of life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated response to infection. In septic shock, there is critical reduction in tissue perfusion; acute failure... read more , meningitis Acute Bacterial Meningitis Acute bacterial meningitis is rapidly progressive bacterial infection of the meninges and subarachnoid space. Findings typically include headache, fever, and nuchal rigidity. Diagnosis is by... read more ) is caused by some of the > 90 serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococci). Vaccines are directed against many of the serotypes that cause disease. Certain medical conditions (eg, chronic disorders, immunocompromising conditions, cerebrospinal fluid leaks, cochlear implants) increase the risk of pneumococcal disease.
For more information, see Pneumococcal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Vaccine Recommendations and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Pneumococcal Vaccination. For a summary of changes to the 2023 adult immunization schedule, including new recommendations for the use of PCV15 and PCV20 in people who previously received pneumococcal vaccines, see the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule, United States, 2023: Changes to the 2023 Adult Immunization Schedule.
(See also Overview of Immunization Overview of Immunization Immunity can be achieved Actively by using antigens (eg, vaccines, toxoids) Passively by using antibodies (eg, immune globulins, antitoxins) A toxoid is a bacterial toxin that has been modified... read more .)
Preparations of Pneumococcal Vaccine
There are 2 types of pneumococcal vaccines: conjugate and polysaccharide.
The 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) contains 13 purified capsular polysaccharides of S. pneumoniae (1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6 B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F, 23F).
The 15-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV15) contains 15 purified capsular polysaccharides of S. pneumoniae (1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6 B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F, 22F, 23F, and 33F).
The 20-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV20) contains 20 purified capsular polysaccharides of S. pneumoniae (1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6 B, 7F, 8, 9V, 10A, 11A, 12F, 14, 15B, 18C, 19A, 19F, 22F, 23F, and 33F).
The 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) contains antigens from the 23 most virulent of the 83 subtypes of S. pneumoniae (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6B, 7F, 8, 9N, 9V, 10A, 11A, 12F, 14, 15B, 17F, 18C, 19F, 19A, 20, 22F, 23F, 33F).
Unlike the older PPSV23, PCV13 can stimulate antibody responses in infants. It also seems to confer greater protection against invasive pneumococcal disorders than PPSV23. PPSV23 reduces bacteremia by 56 to 81% in adults overall but is less effective in debilitated older people. It reduces pneumonia incidence.
Indications for Pneumococcal Vaccine
Children up to 18 years of age should receive the pneumococcal vaccine. For detailed information on administering the pneumococcal vaccine to children see CDC: Pneumococcal Vaccination: Summary of Who and When to Vaccinate and CDC: Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule by Age).
Adults age 65 years or older who have not previously received a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or whose vaccination history is unknown should receive either
1 dose of PCV20 or
1 dose of PCV15 followed by a dose of PPSV23
Adults 19 to 64 years who have certain medical conditions or other risk factors and who have not previously received a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or whose vaccination history is unknown should receive either
1 dose of PCV20 OR
1 dose of PCV15 followed by a dose of PPSV23
The applicable medical conditions and risk factors include the following:
Alcohol use disorder
Chronic heart, lung, or liver disease
Chronic renal failure or nephrotic syndrome
Congenital or acquired asplenia
Cerebrospinal fluid leak
Immunodeficiency or immunosuppression
Leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma
Solid organ transplants
Sickle cell disease or other hemoglobinopathies
For both adult age groups, the dose of PPSV23 should follow the dose of PCV15 by at least 1 year. A minimum interval of 8 weeks between PCV15 and PPSV23 can be considered for adults with an immunocompromising condition, cochlear implant, or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak. Also, for those who have previously received a dose of pneumococcal vaccine, see detailed recommendations regarding further pneumococcal vaccine dosing at CDC: Pneumococcal Vaccination: Summary of Who and When to Vaccinate and CDC: Adult Immunization Schedule by Age.
Contraindications and Precautions for Pneumococcal Vaccine
The main contraindication for PCV13 is
A severe allergic reaction (eg, anaphylaxis Anaphylaxis Anaphylaxis is an acute, potentially life-threatening, IgE-mediated allergic reaction that occurs in previously sensitized people when they are reexposed to the sensitizing antigen. Symptoms... read more ) after a previous dose of PCV7 or PCV13, to a vaccine component, or to any vaccine containing diphtheria toxoid
The main contraindication for PCV15 is
A severe allergic reaction (eg, anaphylaxis) to any component of PCV15 or to diphtheria toxoid
The main contraindication for PCV20 is
A severe allergic reaction (eg, anaphylaxis Anaphylaxis Anaphylaxis is an acute, potentially life-threatening, IgE-mediated allergic reaction that occurs in previously sensitized people when they are reexposed to the sensitizing antigen. Symptoms... read more ) to any component of PCV20 or to diphtheria toxoid
The main contraindication for PPSV23 is
A severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of the vaccine or to a vaccine component
Precautions with either type of vaccine include
Moderate or severe acute illness with or without fever (vaccination is postponed until illness resolves)
For children with functional or anatomic asplenia, meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY Meningococcal Vaccine The meningococcal serogroups that most often cause meningococcal disease in the United States are serogroups B, C, and Y. Serogroups A and W cause disease outside the United States. Current... read more ) and PCV13 should not be given during the same visit but should be separated by ≥ 4 weeks.
Administration of Pneumococcal Vaccine
The usual dose of each vaccine is
0.5 mL IM for PCV20
0.5 mL IM for PCV13
0.5 mL IM for PCV15
0.5 mL IM or subcutaneous for PCSV23
People with asymptomatic or symptomatic HIV infection should be vaccinated as soon as possible after their diagnosis.
Adults aged 19 to 64 years at highest risk of pneumococcal disease (eg, with functional or anatomic asplenia, chronic kidney disease, or another immunocompromising condition, including cancer and use of corticosteroids) should be given a second dose of PPSV23 5 years after the first PPSV23 dose.
All people should be vaccinated with PPSV23 at age 65. If people were given 1 or 2 doses of PPSV23 before age 65 for any indication and ≥ 5 years have elapsed since their previous PPSV23 dose, they should be given another dose of the vaccine at age 65 or later. The second dose is given 5 years after the first (eg, at age 69 if the previous dose was given at age 64). Those who are given PPSV23 at or after age 65 should be given only 1 dose.
When cancer chemotherapy or other immunosuppressive therapy is being considered, the interval between vaccination and initiation of immunosuppressive therapy should be ≥ 2 weeks. People should be not be vaccinated during chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
For dosing schedules in children, see CDC: Pneumococcal Vaccination: Summary of Who and When to Vaccinate and CDC: Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule by Age.
Adverse Effects of Pneumococcal Vaccine
Adverse effects are usually mild and include fever, irritability, drowsiness, anorexia, vomiting, and local pain and erythema.
The following English-language resources may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of these resources.
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP): Pneumococcal ACIP Vaccine Recommendations
ACIP: Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule, United States, 2023 including Changes to the 2023 Adult Immunization Schedule
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Pneumococcal Vaccination: Information for Healthcare Professionals
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC): Pneumococcal Disease: Recommended vaccinations 2023
Drugs Mentioned In This Article
|Drug Name||Select Trade|
|Pneumovax 23, Pnu-Imune-23 , Prevnar, Prevnar 13 , Prevnar 20, VAXNEUVANCE|