Precautions and Warnings With the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
There are many precautions and warnings that you should be aware of before your child receives the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. For example, care must be taken when giving the vaccine to individuals with bleeding disorders or who are taking anticoagulants; in some cases, your child's healthcare provider may decide that the risk of the injection is not worth the benefit.
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?
You should talk to a healthcare provider before your child receives the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar 13®) if your child is moderately to severely ill or has:
- A bleeding disorder (or is taking an anticoagulant)
- 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
- Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Make sure to tell the healthcare provider about any medications your child is taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Warnings and Precautions
Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to getting the vaccine include the following:
- The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 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.
- Care must be taken when giving any intramuscular injection (including pneumococcal conjugate vaccines) to individuals with bleeding disorders or who are taking anticoagulant medications ("blood thinners"). In some cases, the child's healthcare provider may decide that the risk of the injection is not worth the benefit.
- Parents who are concerned about exposing their children to thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative) can be confident that this vaccine has no thimerosal (not even 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.
- The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine should never be given intravenously (into a vein). It is meant for intramuscular injection only.
- Febrile seizures (seizures associated with high fevers in young children) have been rarely associated with the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. If your child has a tendency to get febrile seizures, ask your healthcare provider if you should give an anti-fever medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) to help avoid febrile seizures.
- Your child can receive the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 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 the 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, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine may not be as effective as usual for protection against pneumococcal disease.
- The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine can potentially interact with a few other medications or vaccines (see Drug Interactions With the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine).
- The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 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 young children and older adults, and is therefore unlikely to be given to pregnant women.
- At this time, it is unknown if the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine passes through breast milk.