The latest Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) for the new Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13) is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Click here to download the VIS.
A VIS has information about a vaccine or vaccines and the disease or diseases the vaccine protects against.
Pneumococcal infection causes blood infections, pneumonia, and meningitis, mostly in young children. (Meningitis is an infection of the covering of the brain.) Although pneumococcal meningitis is relatively rare (less than 1 case per 100,000 people each year), it is fatal in about 1 of 10 cases in children.
Pneumococcal meningitis can also lead to other health problems, including deafness and brain damage.
Before routine use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, pneumococcal infections caused:
- over 700 cases of meningitis,
- 13,000 blood infections
- about 5 million ear infections, and
- about 200 deaths
annually in the United States in children under five. Children younger than 2 years of age are at higher risk for serious disease than older children.
Pneumococcal bacteria are spread from person to person through close contact.
Pneumococcal infections may be hard to treat because some strains of the bacteria have become resistant to the drugs that are used to treat them. This makes prevention of pneumococcal infections through vaccination even more important.