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Pneumococcal Vaccine for Children
The pneumococcal vaccine
is an injection given to protect your child 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). Your child's healthcare provider will tell you which form is right for your child.
Who should get the pneumococcal vaccine:
- Children usually receive up to 4 doses of PCV:
- The first dose at 2 months
- The second dose at 4 months
- The third dose at 6 months
- The fourth dose at 12 to 15 months
- Children at high risk for pneumococcal disease may need 1 or 2 doses of PPSV. If your child needs 2 doses of the vaccine, the second dose is given 8 weeks after the first dose. Any of the following can increase your child's risk:
- Long-term heart or lung disease
- A cerebrospinal fluid leak
- A cochlear implant
- Sickle cell disease
- A damaged or removed spleen
- HIV infection
- Liver disease, kidney failure, or cancer
- An organ transplant or weak immune system
If your child misses a dose of the pneumococcal vaccine:
Your child will need 1 dose if he or she is 2 to 5 years old and is not completely vaccinated. If your child misses a scheduled dose, the remaining doses should still be completed. Ask your child's healthcare provider when to return for the next dose.
Who should not get the pneumococcal vaccine or should wait to get it:
- Your child should not get the vaccine if he or she has had an allergic reaction to the vaccine or other vaccines.
- Your child should wait to get the vaccine if he or she is sick or has a fever.
- Your older child may need to wait to get the vaccine if she is pregnant. Talk to your child's healthcare provider about the risks of this vaccine. Your provider can tell you if your child is at high risk for pneumococcal infection and when to get the vaccine if she is already pregnant.
Risks of the pneumococcal vaccine:
The area where the vaccine was given may be red, tender, or swollen. Your child may get a fever and be fussy or irritable. He or she may have a decreased appetite. Your child may still get pneumococcal disease, even after he or she gets the vaccine. Your child may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:
- Your child's mouth and throat are swollen.
- Your child is wheezing or has trouble breathing.
- Your child has chest pain or says his or her heart is beating fast.
- Your child faints.
Seek care immediately if:
- Your child's face is red or swollen.
- Your child has hives that spread over his or her body.
- Your child says he or she feels weak or dizzy.
Call your child's doctor if:
- Your child has 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 child's doctor as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.
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Learn more about Pneumococcal Vaccine for Children (Ambulatory Care)
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