Prevnar 13 Pneumococcal Vaccine

Doctor giving toddler girl a shot
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Prevnar 13 is an updated version of the Prevnar vaccine that can protect children against more types of pneumococcal bacteria that cause serious infections.

Prevnar 13

In 2010, Prevnar 13 replaced Prevnar 7, which had been in use since 2000 and only covered 7 subtypes of pneumococcal bacteria.

Prevnar 13 can be routinely given to infants and children between the ages of two months and 59 months to protect them against 13 subtypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria that cause invasive pneumococcal disease, including meningitis, pneumonia, and other serious infections. It can also protect children against ear infections caused by these 13 subtypes of Streptococcus bacteria.

Prevnar 13 is usually given as a four-dose series as a part of the routine immunization schedule, with the primary doses at two, four, and six months, and a booster dose at 12 to 15 months.

In addition, other recommendations for getting Prevnar 13 include that:

  • Healthy children between 24 and 59 months who have received an incomplete vaccination schedule should receive one dose of Prevnar 13.
  • Prevnar 13 is not recommended for individuals age 5 and older who don't have health issues.
  • Some medical conditions put a child at increased risk, and Prevnar 13 is recommended in these cases. Unvaccinated (or partially vaccinated) children between 24 and 71 months should be given two doses of Prevnar 13 if they have the following: chronic heart or lung disease, diabetes, chronic liver disease, cerebrospinal fluid leak, a cochlear implant, asplenia, or immunocompromising conditions like HIV.
  • Older children (ages 6-18) and adults (ages 19-64) have fewer conditions that qualify them for Prevnar 13. They should only get one dose of Prevnar 13, followed by one to two doses of Pneumovax 23.

Older adults who have a cochlear implant, cerebrospinal fluid leak, asplenia, or immunocompromising conditions should get a dose of Prevnar 13 if they have not received it in the past. Most adults 65 and older, regardless of health status or vaccination history, should also get a dose of Pneumovax 23.

What You Need to Know About Prevnar 13

Other things to know about Prevnar 13 include that:

  • Like most vaccines in the current childhood immunization schedule, Prevnar 13 does not contain the preservative thimerosal.
  • Children should not be given Prevnar 13 if they have had a severe allergic reaction to any component of Prevnar 7, Prevnar 13, or any vaccine that contains the diphtheria toxoid.
  • The most commonly reported side effects of Prevnar 13 include injection-site reactions (pain, redness, swelling), fever, decreased appetite, irritability, and drowsiness. These vaccine side effects are similar to those of Prevnar 7.

Get educated and get your kids vaccinated and protected.

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Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumococcal vaccination: what everyone should know. Updated August 7, 2020.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine information statements: pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13). Updated October 30, 2019.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumococcal disease. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. Updated February 2021.

Additional Reading
  • CDC. ACIP Provisional Recommendations for Use of 13-Valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine ( PCV13) Among Infants and Children. MMWR 2010, 59:258-261: March 12, 2010.
  • MMWR, June 28, 2013, Vol 62, #25 Use of PCV-13 and PPSV-23 Vaccines Among Children Aged 6–18 Years with Immunocompromising Conditions
  • Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Licensure of a 13-Valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13) and Recommendations for Use Among Children -- Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2010. MMWR March 12, 2010, Vol 59, #9.