What Pneumonia Vaccine are Available?

When people ask for pneumonia vaccine, they usually intend to learn more about Pneumococcal Vaccines, that means PCV13 and PPSV23. 

In America, there’re 900,000 people infected by Pneumococcal Pneumonia each year, with an approx. 5% death rate. Pneumococcal Pneumonia is caused by various Pneumococcal, there’re more than 90 types of pneumococcal, neither of PCV13 or PPSV23 protects against all of them. PCV13 protects against 13 types of pneumococcal, and PPSV23 protects against 23 types of pneumococcal which covers 90% of the disease cases. 

Both PCV13 and PPSV23 protects against pneumonia.

An important thing to bear in mind is that PPSV23 can’t be used on children under 2. PPSV23 contains pod membrane polysaccharide antigen, which is T cell non-dependent antigen, it can stimulate the mature B lymphocyte, but does not stimulate T lymphocyte, this antigen-mediated immune response duration is short, will not produce immune memory. The immune function of infants under 2 years old is not completely developed, the reaction to T cell non-dependent antigen is very poor, therefore the polysaccharide vaccine can not induce the protective immune response of infants. That’s why PPSV23 doesn’t apply to children under 2 years old. 

Who are recommended for PCV13?

  • Infants & young children – 4 dose
    • 2 months
    • 4 months
    • 6 months
    • 12 through 15 months
  • Children 6-18 
    • one dose is recommended to children with medical conditions that cause higher risk of pneumococcal infection
  • Adults 19-64
    • one dose is recommended to children with medical conditions that cause higher risk of pneumococcal infection
  • Adults 65+
    • one dose of PCV13
    • another dose of PPSV23 one year later
    • at least one year’s interval is a must between PCV13 and PPSV23

Who are recommended for PPSV23

  • Adults 65+
    • one dose is recommended
  • Age 2-64 
    • one dose is recommended to people who have long-term health problem, or disease weakening immunity function, or taking medication weakening immunity function
  • Age 19-64
    • smoker
    • asthma

Long-term health problems may include heart disease, lung disease, sickle cell disease, diabetes, alcoholism, etc. Disease or condition weakening immunity include Hodgkin’s disease, kidney failure, multiple myeloma, HIV infection or AIDS, organ transplant.  Medical treatment weakening immunity include long-term steroids, certain cancer drugs, radiation. 

More information about vaccine, you may visit www.vaccines.gov , the site managed by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 


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