What Are Pneumococcal Infections? The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) protect against pneumococcal infections. The bacteria that cause these infections spread through person-to-person contact. They can lead to serious infections like pneumonia, blood infections, and bacterial meningitis. PCV13 protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria, which cause the most common pneumococcal (new-muh-KOK-uhl) infections in kids. PPSV23 protects against 23 types. These vaccines prevent infections in children who get them, and help stop the infections from spreading to others. When Are PCV and PPSV Immunizations Given? Infants get PCV13 immunizations as a series of four injections: the first at 2 months of age then at 4 months, 6 months, and 12–15 months Some kids older than age 2 also might need a shot of PCV13 if they have missed one or more shots, especially if: They have a chronic health condition (such as heart or lung disease). They have a condition that weakens the immune system (like asplenia, HIV infection, etc.). A doctor can decide when and how often a child should get PCV13. Doctors also recommend PPSV23 immunizations for kids 2–18 years old with some kinds of chronic health conditions. These include: heart, lung, or liver disease diabetes kidney failure a weak immune system (such as from cancer or HIV infection) cochlear implants Why Are the PCV and PPSV Vaccines Recommended? Children younger than 2 years old, adults over 65, and people with some medical conditions are at high risk for serious pneumococcal infections. These vaccines are very effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and even death. What Are the Possible Side Effects of PCV and PPSV Vaccines? Kids may have redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given. A child also might have a fever after getting the shot. There is a very small chance of an allergic reaction with any vaccine. When to Delay or Avoid PCV and PPSV Immunization These vaccines are not recommended if your child: is currently sick. But simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization. had a serious allergic reaction to an earlier dose of a pneumococcal vaccine or to the DTaP vaccine Caring for Your Child After PCV and PPSV Immunization These vaccines may cause mild fever and soreness or redness in the injection area. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain or fever and to find out the right dose. When Should I Call the Doctor? Call the doctor if: Your child missed a dose in the series. Your child has a serious allergic reaction or high fever after immunization. Back to Articles Related Articles Word! Vaccine A vaccine is another word for what most kids call a shot. Read More What's a Normal Reaction to a Shot? Find out what the experts have to say. Read More A Kid's Guide to Shots If you're old enough to read this, you've probably had most of your shots. But even bigger kids may need a shot once in a while. Find out more about them in this article for kids. Read More How Do I Know Which Vaccines My Kids Need? Find out what the experts have to say. Read More Immunizations Missing out on shots puts you at more serious risk than you might think. That one little "ouch" moment protects you from some major health problems. Read More Pneumonia Pneumonia is a common lung infection that can usually be treated without a hospital stay. Read More 5 Tips for Surviving Shots If you're afraid of shots, you're not alone. Next time your doc asks you to roll up your sleeve, try these tips. Read More How Can I Comfort My Baby During Shots? Find out what the experts have to say. Read More Immunization Schedule Which vaccines does your child need and when? Use this immunization schedule as a handy reference. Read More Common Questions About Immunizations Immunizations have protected millions of children from potentially deadly diseases. Learn about immunizations and find out exactly what they do - and what they don't. Read More Your Child's Immunizations Immunizations protect kids from many dangerous diseases. Find out what vaccines your child needs to grow up healthy. Read More Pneumonia Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be caused by different types of germs, most commonly viruses. Read about symptoms and treatment. Read More How Vaccines Help (Video) Vaccines help keep kids healthy, but many parents still have questions about them. Get answers here. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.