Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Children's Health Prevnar

Pneumococcal disease is a serious infection caused by bacteria called streptococcal pneumoniae. Pneumococcal vaccine is available for use in children to prevent pneumococcal disease, such as pneumonia, meningitis, and otitis media. The new pneumococcal vaccine is marketed under the name Prevnar 13. Prevnar 13 protects against 13 different types of pneumococcal bacteria. The older version of Prevnar only protected against 7 strains.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends Prevnar 13 for children 2 months to 5 years of age (prior to sixth birthday). Children, who have started their vaccination schedule using the original Prevnar vaccine, may conclude it with the newer Prevnar 13. In addition, children from 15 months to 5 years who have received all 4 doses of the original Prevnar can get the additional coverage of Prevnar 13 with one additional dose.

Health experts believe that becoming infected with pneumococcal disease (such as pneumonia or meningitis) is more dangerous to your child's health than receiving the vaccine. Like any vaccine, Prevnar 13 may not provide protection from disease in every person. Be sure to ask your child's doctor about the benefits and risks of Prevnar 13.

Four doses of the Prevnar 13 vaccine are given for complete immunization against pneumococcal infection.

Doses are usually given at:

  • 2 months
    • First dose no sooner than 6 weeks
    • Should have 2 months between each injection
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 12-15 months

If your child is already 6 months or older, he or she can receive Prevnar 13 on the following schedule:
  • 7-11 months:
    • Two injections at least 4 weeks apart
    • A third injection after the child turns 1 year; at least 2 months after the second injection
  • Age 12-23 months
    • Two injections at least 2 months apart
  • Age 2-9 years:
    • One injection

Side Effects
Mild problems:

More serious problems:

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