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Side Effects of the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

Common Side Effects in Children

Prevnar 13 has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials. In these studies in children, Prevnar 13 was compared to the older version of the vaccine (Prevnar). This way, it was possible to compare the side effects that occurred with the two products.
In these studies, the most common Prevnar 13 side effects included:
  • Tenderness at the injection site -- in up to 89 percent of children and teens
  • Irritability -- up to 85.6 percent 
  • Sleeping more than usual -- up to 71.5 percent
  • Decreased appetite -- up to 51 percent
  • Sleeping less than usual -- up to 45.6 percent
  • Redness at the injection site -- up to 42.9 percent
  • Swelling at the injection site -- up to 37.6 percent
  • Fever -- up to 36.5 percent.
Care must be taken when interpreting this data, however, since Prevnar 13 was often given along with other vaccines. For instance, it may not be accurate to say that Prevnar 13 caused irritability in 85.6 percent of children, since the irritability may have been at least partially due to the other vaccines that were given at the same time.
Injection site reactions (such as redness, swelling, and tenderness) are generally more likely to occur in older children and teens.

Common Side Effects in Adults

Prevnar 13 has also been studied in adults (age 50 and older). In these studies, Prevnar 13 was compared to the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumovax®).
In these studies, the most common Prevnar 13 side effects included:
  • Pain -- up to 88.8 percent of people
  • Headache -- up to 65.9 percent
  • Fatigue -- up to 63.3 percent
  • Muscle pain -- up to 61.8 percent
  • Limitation of arm movement -- up to 40.7 percent
  • Joint pain -- up to 31.5 percent
  • Decreased appetite -- up to 25.3 percent
  • Chills -- up to 23.5 percent
  • Swelling -- up to 23.1 percent
  • Redness -- up to 22.2 percent
  • Rash -- up to 16 percent
  • Vomiting -- up to 6.9 percent
  • Fever -- up to 4.2 percent.
A Dose of Reassurance for Parents of Picky Eaters

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Information

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