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?

The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) is recommended for the following adults:

  • Adults 19 to 64 years old with certain medical conditions (for example, certain kidney diseases, cigarette smoking, asthma, chronic heart or lung disease, asplenia, and conditions that cause weakening of the immune system) should receive one or two doses of PPSV23 given five years apart.
  • All adults 65 and older who do not have a medical reason not to get it, as long as it has been 5 years since any previous dose of PPSV23.

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) is recommended for the following adults:

  • Adults 19 and older with asplenia, sickle cell disease, cerebrospinal fluid leaks, cochlear implants, or conditions that cause weakening of the immune system.
  • Adults who are recommended to get both the PPSV23 and the PCV13 vaccines should get the PCV13 vaccine first, followed by PPSV23 8 weeks later. If an adult was already vaccinated with PPSV23, he or she should receive the PCV13 vaccine 1 year or more later.
Did you know...
pneumococcal disease can cause meningitis, pneumonia, or a blood infection?
Adults over age 65 who received PPSV23 before age 65 also need a booster shot if it has been more than 5 years since being vaccinated. A PPSV23 booster is also recommended for adult between ages 19 and 64 who have certain medical conditions such as: a damaged spleen or no spleen, certain kidney diseases , a weakened immune system due to medications such as chemotherapy drugs and long-term steroids, cancers; including leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma, history of an organ or bone marrow transplant, HIV/AIDS, or sickle cell disease

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

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