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Pneumococcal Vaccine for Adults
The pneumococcal vaccine
is an injection given to protect you from pneumococcal disease. Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by pneumococcal bacteria. The infection may cause pneumonia or an ear infection. Pneumococcal disease is spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing. The vaccine comes in 2 forms, called pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV).
Who should get the pneumococcal vaccine:
- Adults aged 65 years or older may only need 1 dose. Another dose of either vaccine may be given, if they are at least 1 year apart. Your healthcare provider will tell you if you need more vaccine doses and when to get them.
- Adults aged 19 to 64 at high risk for pneumococcal disease will need 1 or more doses of the vaccine. If you are Native Alaskan or American Indian, ask your healthcare provider if you need the vaccine. Any of the following can increase your risk for pneumococcal disease:
- A chronic heart or lung disease, or diabetes
- Liver disease or alcoholism
- A cerebrospinal fluid leak or cochlear implant
- A damaged or removed spleen, or sickle cell disease
- A weak immune system, HIV, cancer, kidney failure, or an organ transplant
- Living in a nursing home or long-term care facility
Who should not get the pneumococcal vaccine or should wait to get it:
- You should not get the vaccine if you have had an allergic reaction to it or other vaccines in the past. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any severe allergies.
- You should wait to get the vaccine if you are sick or have a fever.
- You may need to wait to get the vaccine if you are pregnant. If possible, get the vaccine before you become pregnant. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks of this vaccine. Your provider can tell you if you are at high risk for pneumococcal infection and when to get the vaccine if you are already pregnant.
What are the risks of the pneumococcal vaccine:
The area where the vaccine was given may be red, tender, or swollen. You may get a fever and have muscle pain. You may still get pneumococcal disease, even after you get the vaccine. You may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:
- Your mouth and throat are swollen.
- You are wheezing or have trouble breathing.
- You have chest pain or your heart is beating faster than normal for you.
- You feel like you are going to faint.
Seek care immediately if:
- Your face is red or swollen.
- You have hives that spread over your body.
- You feel weak or dizzy.
Call your doctor if:
- You have a fever.
- You have swollen or painful lymph nodes in your neck.
- You have increased pain, redness, or swelling around the area where the shot was given.
- You have questions or concerns about the pneumococcal vaccine.
Apply a warm compress
to the injection area as directed to decrease pain and swelling.
Follow up with your doctor as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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Learn more about Pneumococcal Vaccine for Adults (Ambulatory Care)
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