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Definition:

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine helps protect against mild and severe infections due to the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae. This bacteria frequently causes ear infections, meningitis, and pneumonia in children.

See also: Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine



Information:

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is an inactivated-bacteria vaccine, which means it uses dead bacteria to teach the immune system to recognize and fight active bacteria.

This vaccine effectively prevents childhood illnesses caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae.

WHO SHOULD GET THIS VACCINE

Children should receive four doses of the vaccine, one dose each at the following ages:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 12 - 15 months

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is not the same as the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, which is used in children over age 2 and in adults. For information on that vaccine, see: Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine

RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS

Most people have no or only minor side effects from the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Pain and redness at the injection site can occur. As is the case with any drug or vaccine, there is a small risk of an allergic reaction, more serious reactions, or even death.

Watch for and be familiar with how to treat minor side effects such as low-grade fever or tenderness at the injection site.

CONSIDERATIONS

If your child has a fever or an illness that is more serious than a cold, the vaccine may be withheld or delayed.

CALL YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER IF:

Call your health care provider if moderate or serious side effects appear after this vaccine has been given, or if you have any questions or concerns.

Call your health care provider if you are not sure if the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine should be delayed, withheld, or only given to a specific person.



References:

American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases. Recommended immunization schedules for children and adolescents -- United States, 2008. Pediatrics. 2008;121(1):219-220.




Review Date: 6/19/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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