Pneumococcal Disease 
Addressing Common Questions about Pneumococcal Vaccination for Adults

There are two vaccines that protect against pneumococcal disease,
which is caused by infection with a common bacterium called
Streptococcus pneumoniae.
PCV13 (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) - protects against 13 of the approximately 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria that can cause the most serious types of pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia, meningitis, and bacteremia.
PPSV23 (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine) - Protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. This vaccine helps prevent invasive infections like meningitis and bacteremia.
Why vaccinate adults against pneumococcal disease?
  • Pneumococcal disease is a very serious infection that causes pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infection (sepsis).
  • About one million US adults get pneumococcal pneumonia every year and 5 to 7 percent will die from it. Fewer will get pneumococcal meningitis or sepsis, but the mortality rate in this group is higher (10 percent or more).
  • In the US, pneumococcal pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections kill tens of thousands each year, including 18,000 adults age 65 years and older. 
  • Pneumococcal disease can cause serious illness and lifelong complications. Pneumococcal meningitis can cause hearing loss, seizures, blindness, and paralysis. Serious heart problems are common among patients hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia.
  • In its worst forms, pneumococcal disease kills one in every four to five people over the age of 65 who gets it.

Pneumococcal Disease Myths and Facts for Consumers

Pneumococcal disease is not common or serious.
Pneumococcal disease is a very serious illness, with resulting infections being the most common cause of invasive bacterial infection in American children. Invasive pneumococcal disease kills thousands of people in the United States each year, most of them 65 years of age or older.

Everybody who is carrier of the bacteria causing pneumococcal disease will get sick from it.
It is common for people, especially children, to carry the bacteria in their throats without being ill from it.

If you're over 65 years of age, you need to get a pneumococcal vaccine every year.
A single dose of pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for most persons 65 years or older.

People over 65 are the only people particularly susceptible to pneumococcal disease.
Anyone can get pneumococcal disease. In addition to persons 65 and older, high-risk groups include individuals with weak immune systems, sickle cell disease, as well as Alaskan Natives, certain American Indian populations and residents of chronic or long-term care facilities. Further, children under 2 years of age who live in group care settings and those with certain illnesses are at higher risk than other children.

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June 14th-16th, 2017
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