Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13) – Need, Indications, Risks

What is the need of PCV 13?

The PCV 13 is used for the prevention of pneumococcal infections because the treatment of these infections is hard due to drug resistant strains of the bacteria. The Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria cause severe infection such as pneumonia and meningitis; especially in young children. 

The new pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) provides protection from 13 strains of pneumococcal infections and found to be effective in preventing the occurrence of pneumonia in almost 80% of the cases among children under 5.

PCV13 is usually administered to the infants at high risk for serious diseases due to pneumococcal infections. The PCV13 can be given along with other vaccines.

Indications for PCV13

Infants and Children Under 2 Years of Age

PCV13 is administered as a series of 4 doses to infants and children under 2 years of age. The health care provider decides about the number of doses and length of intervals between them after considering the age of children.

It is also recommended for those children who had received PCV7 doses as they can complete their immunization series with PCV13.

Older Children and Adolescents

Children (age between 2 and 6 years) suffering from various medical conditions such as AIDS, Chronic lung or heart disease, sickle cell disease and others; should get 1 or 2 doses of PCV13 (doses to be determined by health care provider)

Healthy Children (age between 2 and 5 years) who had not received PCV7 or PCV13 before the age of 2 years.

Children and adolescents (age between 6 and 18 years) with certain medical conditions should be administered doses of PCV13 although they had received PCV7 or PPSV23 earlier.

Children who had received immunization series with PCV7

Healthy children less than 5 years can be given one dose of PCV13

Children with medical conditions (less than 6 years) can be given one dose of PCV13.

The doses should be given after recommendations from experienced health care provider.

Risks from PCV13

There is very minimal chance of any severe or life threatening medical problem due to vaccine. Even if severe allergic reactions are present, they will disappear within few hours after the vaccination procedure.

The patient may experience following mild reactions.


                    Allergic reaction


                    Temporary loss of appetite

                    Redness or tenderness in the region where shot was administered

                    Swelling in the region where shot was administered

                    Mild fever

                    Fussy or irritable behaviour

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP)

In 1986, a VICP program was brought into existence for providing compensation to those individuals who claim that they have been injured by a vaccine.

Individuals can file their claim with VICP through any of the following ways.

                    By calling 1-800-338-2382

                    By visiting the website at

Sources of information about PCV13

Individuals can get the further information about PCV13 from the following sources.

                    Health care provider

                    Vaccine package insert

                    By calling local or state health department

                    By contacting CDC office (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

                    By making calls at 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)

                    By visiting the CDC website at