Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
Healthcare providers recommend that babies get the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, which is approved to prevent invasive pneumococcal disease and ear infections. The vaccination usually comes in a series of four shots, given several months apart starting in infancy. The product was specifically developed to allow the young immune systems of infants and toddlers to respond to the vaccine. This product is also approved for older adults in certain cases.
What Is the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine?
The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar 13®) is a vaccine approved for use in both children and adults. In children, it is approved to prevent the following infections:
- Invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) -- a group of potentially life-threatening diseases caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, such as bacterial meningitis, bacteremia, and pneumonia, in children who are 6 weeks old up through 17 years of age (before the eighteenth birthday)
- Ear infections caused by certain strains of S. pneumoniae in children who are six weeks old up through five years of age (before the sixth birthday).
In adults, Prevnar 13 is approved for preventing pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal disease in adults age 50 years and older.
Prevnar 13 was approved in February 2010. It is the "new-and-improved" version of Prevnar that provides protection against more types of the bacteria. The old Prevnar is no longer being made.
(Click What Is the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Used For? for more information on what the medication is used for, including possible off-label uses.)