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Younger Than 2, Older Than 65? Take Heed

March 30, 2022

MASSENA, NY – Are your infantile and elderly loved ones protected from pneumococcal disease? Pneumococcal infections are caused by bacteria, and can range from ear and sinus infections, to pneumonia and meningitis.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccinations against the disease for all children younger than two, and anyone over 65 who has not had the vaccine.

There are two kinds of pneumococcal vaccines used in the United States to help protect against pneumococcal disease:

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV13, PCV15, or PCV20)
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23)

The two vaccines protect against many, but not all types of pneumococcal bacteria, and the protection from them is good but not 100%; meaning there is still a chance someone can develop pneumococcal disease after vaccination.

The CDC advises all children younger than two should receive PCV13, and children ages two through 18 with certain medical conditions should receive PCV13 and PPSV23. Adults who have never received a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine should receive PCV15 or PCV20 if they are 65 years and older, or are ages 19 through 64 and have certain medical conditions or other risk factors.

Most people who get one of these vaccines do not have any serious problems with it; however, side effects can occur and are typically mild. Individuals may have redness, swelling or tenderness at the site of the injection, fever, loss of appetite, irritability, headache, fever, or muscle aches/joint pain. If side effects do occur, they usually go away within two days.

For informative and accurate information about pneumococcal vaccines, talk with your St. Lawrence Health provider or find one online, or visit the CDC’s website.

St. Lawrence Health has a dedicated page on its website that highlights some of the most common and encouraged vaccinations and immunizations.