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Pneumococcal Disease – Fast Facts and Prevention

Published by Nicole Porter on

As we continue through the winter months, VEAP is here to keep you informed about not only the COVID-19 and flu vaccines, but also other vaccines that might be important to you and your loved ones. Over the past couple of months, we have been focusing on the pneumococcal vaccine which helps prevent pneumococcal disease and is important for young children, older adults, and those with certain medical conditions or risk factors. 

“Pneumococcal disease” is any infection that is caused by pneumococcal bacteria.  This can range from mild issues such as ear and sinus infections to much more serious issues such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs), meningitis (infection of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord), and Bacteremia (infection of the blood).   

Today we wanted to share a few “Fast Facts” about pneumococcal disease from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention                                              


                               Fast Facts You Need to Know about Pneumococcal Disease

1. Pneumococcal disease can be very serious.

  • Pneumococcal pneumonia causes an estimated 150,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States. 

  • Pneumococcal meningitis and bacteremia killed approximately 3,250 people in the United States in 2019. 

Learn about pneumococcal disease symptoms and complications.

2. Anyone can get pneumococcal disease. 

  • Young children and older adults are at increased risk compared to other age groups. 

  • Certain medical conditions and other risk factors put people at increased risk for pneumococcal disease. 

Learn about groups at increased risk for pneumococcal disease.

3. CDC recommends safe and effective pneumococcal vaccines for children and adults.

All children younger than 5 years old and children 5 through 18 years old with certain medical conditions that increase their risk of pneumococcal disease should receive PCV13 or PCV15.

Children 2 through 18 years old with certain medical conditions should also receive PPSV23.

Adults who have never received a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine should receive PCV15 or PCV20 if they

  • Are 65 years or older
  • Are 19 through 64 years old and have certain medical conditions or other risk factors

If PCV15 is used, it should be followed by a dose of PPSV23.

The CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for: 

  • All children younger than 5 years old
  • All adults 65 years or older
  • Those with certain medical conditions or risk factors (please refer to this link: groups at increased risk for pneumococcal disease  to see if you or your family members have any of these risk factors). 

If you or your loved ones fit into any of these categories, talk to your doctor or vaccine provider about pneumococcal vaccination.  

Also, getting the influenza (flu) vaccine every year and making sure that you are up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccines also helps protect against pneumococcal disease. People who get sick with the flu have an increased chance of developing pneumococcal disease and current research on COVID-19 suggests that people with severe COVID infections are more likely to end up with pneumococcal bacterial infections such as pneumonia.

Get caught up on your vaccinations this winter and make sure you and your family stay healthy and happy!

For more information about pneumococcal disease and the pneumococcal vaccine visit:

Pneumococcal Disease in Adults and the Vaccines to Prevent It

Pneumococcal Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know