Pneumococcal Conjugate (“PCV”) Vaccine

What is the Pneumococcal Conjugate (“PCV”) Vaccine?

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is designed to prevent disease caused by Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria.  The most common pneumococcal conjugate vaccination currently protects against 13 serotypes (PCV13).  The vaccine is recommended for all children younger than 5 years of age, all adults 65 years or older, and people 6 years or older with certain risk factors.  PCV13 replaces a previous version of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, known as PCV7, which included 7 pneumococcal serotypes.

At this time, only pneumococcal conjugate vaccines are covered by The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP). Injuries sustained as a result of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines, including Pneumovax 23, are not eligible for compensation within the NVICP.

Pneumococcal disease is caused by a bacterium known as Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus.  Each year in the United States, pneumococcal disease causes thousands of cases of meningitis, bloodstream infections, pneumonia, and ear infections.  Children younger than 2 years of age are at an increased risk for pneumococcal disease.

Who should receive the PCV vaccine?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children receive a 4-dose series of the PCV13 vaccine, to be administered at ages 2, 4, and 6 months and at age 12 through 15 months.  The PCV13 is also recommended for all adults 65 years or older and persons 6 through 64 years of age with certain medical conditions who have not previously received the PCV13 vaccination.

How is the PCV vaccination administered?

Children should receive four doses (0.5 mL per dose) administered by intramuscular (IM) injection at a 90 degree angle in the thigh or deltoid muscle, depending on age.