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Prevnar 13

Generic name: pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine [ NOO-moe-KOK-al-13-VAY-lent-KON-joo-gate-VAX-een ]
Brand name: Prevnar 13

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Nov 15, 2021.

What is Prevnar 13?

Prevnar 13 is used to help prevent disease caused by pneumococcal bacteria. This vaccine contains 13 different types of pneumococcal bacteria.

Pneumococcal disease is a serious infection caused by a bacteria. Pneumococcal bacteria can infect the sinuses and inner ear. It can also infect the lungs, blood, and brain, and these conditions can be fatal.

Prevnar 13 works by exposing you to a small amount of the bacteria or a protein from the bacteria, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. Prevnar 13 will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Pneumococcal 13-valent vaccine is for use in adults and children at least 6 weeks old.

Prevnar 13 helps your body develop immunity to the disease, but will not treat an active infection you already have.

Like any vaccine, Prevnar 13 may not provide protection from disease in every person.

Warnings

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

For children, Prevnar 13 vaccine is given in a series of shots. The first shot is usually given when the child is 2 months old. The booster shots are then given at 4 months, 6 months, and 12 to 15 months of age. Adults usually receive only one dose of the vaccine.

In a child older than 6 months who has not yet received Prevnar 13, the first dose can be given any time from the age of 7 months through 5 years (before the 6th birthday).

If the child is less than 1 year old at the time of the first Prevnar 13 shot, he or she will need 2 booster doses. If the child is 12 to 23 months old at the time of the first shot, he or she will need 1 booster dose. A child who is 2 years or older at the time of the first shot may need only the one shot and no booster doses.

The timing of a vaccination with Prevnar 13 is very important for it to be effective. Your child's individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by the health department of the state you live in. Keep track of any and all side effects your child has after receiving Prevnar 13. When the child receives a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving Prevnar 13.

Becoming infected with pneumococcal disease (such as pneumonia or meningitis) is much more dangerous to your health than receiving Prevnar 13. However, like any medicine, Prevnar 13 can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Be sure to keep your child on a regular schedule for other immunizations against diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps, hepatitis, or varicella (chicken pox). Your doctor or state health department can provide you with a recommended immunization schedule.

Before taking this medicine

You should not receive Prevnar 13 if you ever had a severe allergic reaction to a pneumococcal or diphtheria toxoid vaccine.

Tell the vaccination provider if you or the child has:

  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia or easy bruising; or

  • a weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicine).

Before your child receives Prevnar 13, tell your doctor if the child was born prematurely.

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving Prevnar 13.

Tell the vaccination provider if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How is Prevnar 13 given?

Prevnar 13 is given as an injection (shot) into a muscle.

For infants and toddlers, the pneumococcal 13-valent vaccine is given in a series of shots. The first shot is usually given when the child is 6 weeks to 2 months old. The booster shots are then given at 4 months, 6 months, and 12 to 15 months of age.

If your child is 7 months to 5 years old, he or she can still receive Prevnar 13 on the following schedule:

  • Age 7-11 months: Two shots at least 4 weeks apart, followed by a third shot after the child turns 1 year (at least 2 months after the second shot).

  • Age 12-23 months: Two shots at least 2 months apart.

  • Age 24 months to 5 years (before the 6th birthday): One shot.

The timing of this vaccination is very important for it to be effective. Your child's individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by your local health department.

For adults and children older than 5 years, Prevnar 13 is usually given as one shot.

Be sure to keep your child on a regular schedule for other immunizations such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis, and varicella (chicken pox). Your doctor or state health department can provide you with a recommended immunization schedule.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your vaccination provider if you miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

Be sure to receive all recommended doses of Prevnar 13 or you or your child may not be fully protected against disease.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of Prevnar 13 is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after receiving Prevnar 13?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Prevnar 13 side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Prevnar 13: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of all side effects you have. If you need a booster dose, you will need to tell the vaccination provider if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with pneumococcal disease is much more dangerous to your health than receiving Prevnar 13. However, like any medicine, Prevnar 13 can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is low.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe stomach pain, severe vomiting or diarrhea;

  • wheezing, trouble breathing;

  • high fever (102 degrees F or higher);

  • seizure (convulsions); or

  • severe pain, itching, irritation, or skin changes where the shot was given.

Common Prevnar 13 side effects include

  • fever, chills;

  • headache, feeling tired;

  • muscle or joint pain;

  • sleeping more or less than usual;

  • swelling, tenderness, or redness where a shot was given;

  • trouble moving the arm where a shot was given;

  • (in a child) crying or fussiness;

  • vomiting, loss of appetite; or

  • rash.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

What other drugs will affect Prevnar 13?

Before receiving Prevnar 13, tell your vaccination provider about all other vaccines you have recently received.

Also tell the vaccination provider if you have recently received drugs or treatments that can weaken the immune system, including:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with Prevnar 13, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

  • Your vaccination provider, pharmacist, or doctor can provide more information about Prevnar 13. Additional information is available from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Prevnar 13 only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.