About Pneumococcal disease
Pneumococcal disease is caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. The disease can cause infections in various parts of the body including the lungs (pneumonia), brain (meningitis) and blood (bacteremia).
Pneumococcal disease is one of the leading causes of vaccine-preventable illnesses and deaths in the United States.
Who Should Get the Pneumococcal Vaccine?
The CDC recommends the following individuals get a pneumococcal vaccine:
- All adults 65 year and older
- Individuals aged 2-64 with certain conditions may be at increased risk for Pneumococcal disease. This include those individuals who:
- Have a chronic illness, including heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, sickle cell disease, diabetes, alcoholism or cirrhosis
- Have a condition that weakens the immune system, including cancer, kidney failure, organ or bone marrow transplants, HIV, AIDS or no spleen
- Are taking a medication or treatment that may lower the body’s resistance to infection including certain cancer drugs, radiation therapy or long-term steroids
- Adults between 19-64 who smoke or have asthma
About the Vaccination
Usually only one dose of the Pneumococcal vaccine is needed. A second dose is recommended in certain situations, including:
- Individuals 65 and older who received their first dose when they were under 65, and it has been 5 or more years ago since their first dose
- Individuals 2-64 who have certain chronic illnesses, have a condition that weakens the immune system or are taking a medication that lowers immunity
When a second dose is given, it should be given 5 years after the initial dose.
Mild side effects may occur from the vaccine, such as redness or pain where the vaccine is administered.
Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control. www.cdc.gov/vaccines