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What Is the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Used For?

How Does the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Work?

Simply stated, the antigens in 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.
 
The 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 this vaccine are bound or "conjugated" to a non-toxic diphtheria protein; this change produces a much better immune response in young children.
 

Can Older Children and Adults Use It?

Ideally, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine will be given during infancy and toddlerhood, when the risk of IPD is quite high. However, the vaccine is approved for use in older children. It is approved for use in children through 17 years of age (up to the eighteenth birthday), as well as adults over the age of 50.
 

Off-Label Uses for Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend this vaccine for something other than the uses discussed in this article. At this time, however, there are no universally accepted off-label uses for the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
 
 
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Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Information

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