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Pneumococcal Vaccine For Adults


What is the pneumococcal vaccine?

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. You may be given the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) or the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV).

Who should get the pneumococcal vaccine?

  • Adults aged 65 years or older usually receive 2 doses of pneumococcal vaccine 6 to 12 months 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 may need one or more vaccine doses. 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 damaged or removed spleen, or sickle cell disease
    • A weak immune system caused by conditions such as HIV, cancer, or kidney failure
    • A cerebrospinal fluid leak
    • Heart, lung, or liver disease, alcoholism, or diabetes
    • A cochlear implant
    • Lung problems from asthma or from smoking cigarettes
    • 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.
  • You should wait to get the vaccine if you are sick or have a fever.

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. Women should get the vaccine before they become pregnant, if possible. Talk to your healthcare provider about risks to you or your baby if you get the vaccine while you are pregnant.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • 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.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Your face is red or swollen.
  • You have hives that spread over your body.
  • You feel weak or dizzy.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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