What Is the Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine Used For?
The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine helps prevent bloodstream infections, pneumonia, and other types of pneumococcal disease. In most cases, it is recommended for use in people over the age of 65. However, the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine can also be used for younger people in certain situations, such as in people with long-term health problems.
The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumovax®) is approved to provide protection against pneumococcal disease in people two years of age and older. Types of pneumococcal disease include:
- Bloodstream infections
- Bacterial meningitis (a bacterial infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord).
Pneumococcal disease can be quite serious. Even when treated appropriately with antibiotics and intensive medical care, about 15 to 20 percent of adults who get pneumococcal disease will die. People in high-risk categories are at an even higher risk of death. This is why it is so important to prevent pneumococcal disease.
The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is approved for individuals age 2 and older. However, routine use of this vaccination is recommended only for individuals over age of 65. For younger people, this product is recommended only for people in high-risk categories, such as:
- Adults with asthma
- Adults who smoke
- Individuals age 2 through 64 years who have weakened immune systems due to various diseases or certain medications
- Individuals age 2 through 64 years who have long-term health problems, including but not limited to: