Kids Home > Prevnar 13 Warnings and Precautions

If your child has a common cold or other mild illness, Prevnar 13 can still be given; moderate illness calls for postponing it. Warnings and precautions also apply to children with a history of febrile seizures, nephritic syndrome, or a bleeding disorder. If your child has ever had a reaction to any of the components used to make Prevnar 13, the vaccine should be avoided.

What Should I Tell My Child's Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your child's healthcare provider before your child receives Prevnar 13® (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) if your child has:
  • No spleen or a dysfunctional spleen
  • Been undergoing chemotherapy
  • A bleeding disorder (or is taking an anticoagulant)
  • A certain kidney problem known as nephritic syndrome
  • An immune-suppressing condition such as HIV or AIDS, diabetes, or cancer
  • Had any sort of a reaction to any vaccine in the past
  • A history of febrile seizures
  • A moderate-to-severe illness
  • Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Make sure to tell the healthcare provider giving the vaccine about any medications your child is taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Warnings and Precautions With Prevnar 13

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to the vaccination include the following:
  • Prevnar 13 does not protect against all types of Streptococcus pneumoniae, and it certainly does not provide protection against infections caused by other types of bacteria and viruses.
  • Prevnar is not a replacement for Pneumovax® (a similar but different vaccine) in children age two and older who have no spleen (or who have a dysfunctional spleen), who have HIV, who have been undergoing chemotherapy, who have cancer, or who have nephritic syndrome. Such children should usually receive both Prevnar and Pneumovax.
  • Care must be taken when giving any intramuscular injection (including Prevnar 13) to individuals with bleeding disorders or who are taking anticoagulant medications ("blood thinners"). In some cases, the healthcare provider may decide that the risk of the injection is not worth the benefit.
  • Prevnar 13 should never be given intravenously (into a vein). It is meant for intramuscular injection only (into a muscle).
  • Febrile seizures (seizures associated with high fevers in young children) have been associated with childhood vaccines in rare cases. If your child has a tendency toward febrile seizures, ask your healthcare provider if you should give an antifever medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) to help avoid this complication.
  • A person can receive Prevnar 13 if he or she has a mild illness, such as the common cold. However, it is usually best to postpone the vaccine in the case of a moderate or severe illness.
  • Make sure your healthcare provider knows if your child has ever had any serious reactions to any vaccines in the past.
  • If your child has an immune-suppressing condition, this vaccine may not be as effective as usual for protection against pneumococcal disease.
  • Prevnar 13 can potentially interact with a few other medications or vaccines (see Prevnar 13 Drug Interactions).
  • Prevnar 13 is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means it is unknown if it is safe for use during pregnancy. However, this vaccine is approved for children under age six and older adults age 50 and older, and is therefore unlikely to be given to a pregnant woman.
  • At this time, it is unknown if Prevnar 13 passes through breast milk. However, this vaccine is approved for children under age six and older adults age 50 and older, and is therefore unlikely to be given to a breastfeeding woman.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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