Pneumococcal Vaccines

Pneumococcal vaccines can prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death from pneumococcal disease, an infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.

What is Pneumococcal Disease?

Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. This bacteria can cause lung, blood, sinus, brain or ear infections. Some of these infections can be life threatening.

Symptoms of pneumococcal disease vary depending on the area infected. Read more about the symptoms of different pneumococcal infections on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Pneumococcal Vaccines 

The CDC recommends young children, older adults, and certain people with medical conditions or risk factors get vaccinated against pneumococcal disease.

The United States uses two different types of pneumococcal vaccines: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23).

PCV vaccines help protect against bacteria that cause pneumococcal disease. Three different PCV vaccines are available and are referred to as PCV13, PCV15, and PCV20. 

PPSV23, helps protect against bacteria that cause pneumococcal disease. This vaccine is given to children with certain medical conditions, and older adults.

Pneumococcal Vaccination for Children

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends all children should receive 4 doses of PCV13 or PCV15 vaccine. Children get one dose of either PCV13 or PCV15 vaccine at each of these ages:

  • 2 months of age
  • 4 months of age
  • 6 months of age
  • 12 to 15 months of age

Children who miss their shots at these ages should still get vaccinated. Families should ask their child's health care provider on how to catch up on vaccinations.

After completing 4 doses of PCV13 or PCV15, children 6 years through 18 years of age with certain medical conditions should receive 1 dose of PCV13 or PCV15.

Children between the ages of 2 through 18 should receive PPSV23 vaccine if they have certain medical conditions or risk factors. Families should ask their health care provider about vaccination for children with certain medical conditions or risk factors.

Pneumococcal Vaccination for Adults

Check with your health care provider about which vaccine(s) you should receive. Adults may receive PCV15, PCV20, or PPSV23 vaccine depending on their specific situation and age. Adults may receive a vaccine if they are:

  • 65 years or older
  • 19 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions or other risk factors.

If an adult receives a dose of PCV15, they should get a dose of PPSV23 one year later. Adults vaccinated with PCV20 do not need additional doses. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to see which vaccine you may need.

Childhood Vaccine Program

The Washington State Childhood Vaccination Program provides vaccines to children 18 years of age and younger at no cost. Pneumococcal vaccine is included in this program.

Pneumococcal Vaccination Requirement for Schools and Child Cares

Vaccination against pneumococcal disease is required for child care, preschool, and transitional kindergarten entry in the state of Washington. Learn more about school and child care immunization requirements by visiting the Department of Health’s school immunization web page.

Clinical Guidance on Pneumococcal Vaccination

Resources for Families