Vaccines to Prevent Pneumococcal Disease: PCV13 and PPSV23


Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus that can spread from person to person through close contact. PCV13 is pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for all infants and child

December 12, 2017

Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus that can spread from person to person through close contact. PCV13 is pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for all infants and children, and adults 19 years and older who are at increased risk for disease.

Different types of pneumococcal disease are

  • lung infections (pneumonia)
  • blood infections (bacteremia)
  • infections of the covering of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis)
  • middle ear infections (otitis media)
Pneumococcus bacteria can be found in noses and throats of many people without causing disease. But these are spread by coughing, sneezing or contact with respiratory secretions from person to person. The cause is unknown why it suddenly invades the body and causes disease.

Symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia include:

  •     Fever
  •     Cough
  •     Shortness of breath
  •     Chest pain

Symptoms of pneumococcal meningitis include:

  •     Stiff neck
  •     Fever
  •     Mental confusion and disorientation
  •     Visual sensitivity to light known as photophobia

The symptoms of pneumococcal bacteremia include:

  •     Fever
  •     Chills
  •     Joint pain
  •     Low alertness

Symptoms of pneumococcal otitis media include:

  •     A painful ear
  •     A red or swollen eardrum
  •     Sometimes sleeplessness, fever, and irritability
Pneumococcal infections can be hard to treat because some strains of the bacteria have become resistant to the antibiotics which are used to treat them. In some cases it can result in long-term problems, such as brain damage, deafness, limb loss and even death.
People who are at risk of getting pneumococcal disease:
Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but some people who are at increased risk are:
  •     People 65 years or older
  •     Very young children
  •     People with certain health problems
  •     People with a weakened immune system
  •     Smokers
  •     Adults with asthma

Types of Vaccine for Pneumococcal Disease:

There are currently two types of pneumococcal vaccines available to prevent pneumococcal disease. These are:
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13) and Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPSV23).
There are more than 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria. PCV13 protects against 13 types and PPSV23 protects against 23 types. Both of these vaccine does not provide protection against all pneumococcal disease. But these vaccines provide protection against illnesses like meningitis and bacteremia. PCV13 also provides protection against pneumonia.

PCV13:

PCV13 is routinely given to children at the age of 2, 4, 6, and 12 to 15 months. It is also recommended for children and adults 2 to 64 years of age with certain health conditions, and for all adults 65 years of age and older. Speak to your doctor for detail information.
Children who miss their shots at these ages should still get the vaccine. The number of doses and the intervals between doses will depend on the age of the child. Your health care provider can give information in more detail.
For adults 65 years or older who have already received one or more doses of PPSV23, the dose of PCV13 should be given at least one year after receiving the most recent dose of PPSV23.
For children of age 6 through 18 years old and adults 19 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions are recommended one dose of PCV13. The medical conditions that put them at increased risk for pneumococcal disease are:
  • HIV infection
  • Chronic renal failure (kidney failure)
  • Nephrotic syndrome (kidney disease)
  • Leukemia (cancer of the blood)
  • Hodgkin's disease (cancer of the lymphatic system)
  • Generalized malignancy (cancer)
  • Long-term immunosuppressive therapy (medication that lower the body’s immune system)
  • Congenital or acquired immunodeficiencies (weakened immune system)
  • Sickle cell disease and other hemaglobinopathies (blood disorders)
  • Functional or anatomic asplenia (a spleen that is damaged or removed)
  • Solid organ transplant
  • Multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells)
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks (leak in fluid around the brain and spine)
  • Cochlear implant(s) (electronic medical device that replace the function of a damaged inner ear)
Adults with any of the above listed conditions who have not received any pneumococcal vaccine should get a dose of PCV13 first and should also continue to receive the recommended doses of PPSV23. Your health care provider can give information in more detail.
Adults who have previously received one or more doses of PPSV23, and have one of the above listed conditions should also receive a dose of PCV13 and should continue to receive the remaining recommended doses of PPSV23.Your health care provider can give information in more detail.

PPSV23:

One dose of PPSV23 is recommended for:

All adults of age 65 years or older.
Anyone of age 2 through 64 years who has a long-term health problem such as:
  •         Heart disease
  •         Lung disease
  •         Sickle cell disease
  •         Diabetes
  •         Alcoholism
  •         Cirrhosis
  •         Leaks of cerebrospinal fluid
  •         Cochlear implant
Anyone of age 2 through 64 years who has a disease or condition that lowers resistance of the body to fight infection, such as:
  •     Hodgkin's disease
  •     Lymphoma or leukemia
  •     Kidney failure
  •     Multiple myeloma
  •     Nephrotic syndrome
  •     HIV infection or AIDS
  •     A spleen that is damaged or has been removed
  •     Organ transplant
Anyone of age 2 through 64 years who is taking a drug or treatment that lowers resistance of the body to fight infection, such as:
  •     Long-term steroids
  •     Certain cancer drugs
  •     Radiation therapy
Any adult of age 19 through 64 years who is a smoker or has asthma.
People 2 through 64 years old with certain chronic health conditions may be recommended to receive a second dose, five years after their first dose. any individual who needs two doses of PPSV23 before age 65 years is recommended one dose of PCV13 first. Your health care provider can give information in more detail. Most healthy adults who get these vaccine develop protection within two to three weeks of getting the shot.

Problems that could happen after any vaccine:

  • Sometimes people faint after vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting. If you feel dizzy, have vision changes or ringing in the ears, speak to your doctor.
  • In some cases severe pain in the shoulder and difficulty moving the arm where a shot was given could happen.
  • A severe allergic reaction would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
  • There is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death. The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. You can get all the information from Vaccine Safety site.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. If you have severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or behavior changes , call 9-1-1 or find the nearest hospital.
The reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) through the VAERS website or by calling 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions. They do not give medical advice.
If you are injured by a vaccine, you can file a claim in  National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website to get the compensation.

Learn more about Vaccine:

Your doctor can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.
You can call your local or state health department or can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by:
        Calling 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)
        Visiting  CDC vaccines website