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Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

Thimerosal Content and Other Concerns

Parents who are concerned about exposing their children to thimerosal can be confident that this vaccine contains no thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative), not even in trace amounts. Some parents are concerned about aluminum content of vaccines; this vaccine contains 0.125 mg of aluminum per dose.
 
This vaccine is not made from human fetal components or animal components, as some vaccines are.
 

How Does the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Work?

Simply stated, the antigens in the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine "trick" the body into thinking it has been exposed to pneumococcal bacteria. The body produces antibodies that will help fight the bacteria if future exposure occurs.
 
A different pneumococcal vaccine (Pneumovax®) was available long before pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and is used to prevent pneumococcal disease in adults and children over two years of age. However, the vaccine does not work well in infants and toddlers, since their immune systems are too immature to respond adequately to the vaccine.
 
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine was developed specifically in a way to allow the young immune systems of infants and toddlers to respond to the vaccine. The bacterial antigens in the vaccine are bound or "conjugated" to a non-toxic diphtheria protein; this change produces a much better immune response in young children.
 

When and How to Get Vaccinated

Some general considerations include the following:
 
  • This vaccine is given as one to four doses, depending on the age when the first dose is given (the older the child, the fewer doses that are given).

 

  • For adults (age 50 and up), this vaccine is given as a single dose. 

 

  • The healthcare provider should shake the vial well before injecting pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and should not combine it with any other vaccines in the same syringe.
     
  • Children can be vaccinated if they have a minor illness, such as the common cold. However, the vaccine should be postponed if the child is moderately or severely ill.
     
A Dose of Reassurance for Parents of Picky Eaters

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Information

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