The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is an inactivated-bacteria vaccine. After you get this vaccine, your body's immune system learns to attack the bacteria if you come in contact with it. This makes you less likely to get sick from an infection due to this type of bacteria.
No vaccine is 100% effective. So, it is still possible to get Streptococcus pneumoniae, even after you have been vaccinated.
WHO SHOULD GET THIS VACCINE
The vaccine is recommended for:
Cigarette smokes age 19 to 64
Everyone age 65 or older
High-risk people age 2 or older
Includes persons with heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, alcoholism, diabetes, cirrhosis, cochlear implants, and leaks of cerebrospinal fluid
The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine does not protect against pneumococcal diseases in children under age 2. There is a different vaccine, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, which is routinely given to younger children to protect against disease due to Streptococcus pneumoniae.
RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS
Most people have no or only minor side effects from the pneumococcal vaccine. You may have some pain and redness at the place where you got the shot. Serious problems are rare and are mainly due to allergic reactions to a part of the vaccine.
Call your health care provider if moderate or serious side effects appear after the pneumococcal vaccine has been given, or if you have any questions or concerns about the vaccine.
Talk to your health care provider before receiving the pneumococcal vaccine if you have a fever or an illness that is more serious than a cold, or if there is a chance you might be pregnant.
Call your health care provider if you are not sure whether you or your child should get or delay the pneumococcal vaccine.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended adult immunization schedule—United States, 2012. MMWR 2012;61(4).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended Immunization Schedules for Persons Aged 0 Through 18 Years --United States, 2012, MMWR 2012;61(05);1-4.
David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine.