Pneumococcal Infographic

Pneumococcal Disease

Why vaccinate adults against pneumococcal disease?

  • In the US, 90 percent of pneumococcal disease cases are in adults.
  • More than 30,000 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease (meningitis and bacterermia) occur in the US each year.
  • As many as 175,000 people are hospitalized due to pneumococcal pneumonia in the US each year. The case-fatality rate of pneumococcal pneumonia is 5-7 percent.
  • Pneumococcal disease has high associated morbidity. Pneumococcal meningitis can cause hearing loss, seizures, blindness, and paralysis. Concurrent cardiac events are common among patients hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia.
  • In its worst forms, pneumococcal disease kills one in every four to five people over the age of 65 who contract it.

Which adults need pneumococcal vaccination?

CDC currently recommends pneumococcal vaccination for:
  • All adults age 65 and older
  • Adults age 19 through 64 years with lung, heart, liver, or kidney disease; asthma; diabetes; alcoholism; immunocompromising conditions cancer; a damaged or missing spleen; cochlear implants; or cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) leaks
  • Adults living in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
  • All adults who smoke cigarettes

There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines available for adults: a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) and a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13).

Adults with any of the following need to receive both vaccines: immunocompromising conditions (e.g., HIV/AIDS, leukemia, lymphoma, and Hodgkins disease); a damaged or missing spleen; cochlear implants; or CSF leaks.

Other adults who are recommended for pneumococcal vaccination only need PPSV23, but may need more than one dose. For more information, speak with your healthcare professional.
Did you know...
pneumococcal disease can cause meningitis, pneumonia, or a blood infection?

What happens when someone gets pneumococcal disease?
  • Pneumococcal disease can cause pneumonia, meningitis, or blood infection.
  • People with pneumococcal disease may have a combination of high fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, stiff neck, disorientation, and sensitivity to light.
  • Among those who contract pneumococcal disease, those age 65 and older and adults with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of death.

Why is pneumococcal vaccine important?

  • Pneumococcal disease is a potentially deadly infection that can strike quickly.
  • Getting vaccinated is the safest, most effective way to protect against this infection.
  • Even if vaccination does not prevent the infection, it can reduce the severity, helping to prevent hospitalization.

    FAQ: Can I get the influenza and pneumococcal vaccines at the same time?
    Yes. These vaccines can be given at the same time, but in different arms. In fact, pneumococcal disease can be a complication of influenza, so getting both vaccines is a smart choice. Unlike influenza vaccine, however, pneumococcal vaccination is not given every year.


Fact Sheets for At-Risk Adults

At-a-glance patient fact sheets for those with asthma, diabetes, heart, liver, lung, and kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, and smokers as well as those with certain medical conditions

Facts about Pneumococcal Disease for Adults

For Adults with Asthma: Important Information about a Dangerous Infection

Five reasons adults with ASTHMA should be vaccinated against pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal Disease (2012) - 30 Seconds

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID)

Pneumococcal Vaccination

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Pneumococcal Vaccination: Who Needs It?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Real Stories, Real People: Helping a Friend Fight Pneumococcal Disease

Linda’s Story

What You Need To Know About COPD, Asthma, and Adult Vaccines

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention