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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Prevnar 13

Generic Name: pneumococcal 13-valent vaccine (Pronunciation: NOO moe KOK al 13-VAY lent VAX een)

What is pneumococcal 13-valent vaccine (Prevnar 13)?

Pneumococcal disease is a serious infection caused by a bacteria. Pneumococcal bacteria can infect the sinuses and inner ear. It can also infect the lungs, blood, and brain, and these conditions can be fatal.

Pneumococcal 13-valent vaccine is used to prevent infection caused by pneumococcal bacteria. This vaccine contains 13 different types of pneumococcal bacteria.

Pneumococcal 13-valent vaccine works by exposing your child to a small dose of the bacteria or a protein from the bacteria, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Pneumococcal 13-valent vaccine is for use only in children between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 years. For adults and children who are 2 years of age and older, another vaccine called Pneumovax (pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine [PPV] 23-valent) is used.

Becoming infected with pneumococcal disease (such as pneumonia or meningitis) is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Like any vaccine, pneumococcal 13-valent vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.

What are the possible side effects of pneumococcal 13-valent vaccine (Prevnar 13)?

Your child should not receive a booster vaccine if he or she had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects your child has after receiving this vaccine. When the child receives a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shots caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with pneumococcal disease (such as pneumonia or meningitis) is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Get emergency medical help if your child has any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if your child has any of these serious side effects:

  • high fever (103 degrees or higher);
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • wheezing, trouble breathing;
  • severe stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea;
  • easy bruising or bleeding; or
  • severe pain, itching, irritation, or skin changes where the shot was given.

Less serious side effects include

  • crying, fussiness;
  • drowsiness, sleeping more or less than usual;
  • mild redness, swelling, tenderness, or a hard lump where the shot was given;
  • loss of appetite, mild vomiting or diarrhea;
  • low fever (102 degrees or less); or
  • mild skin rash.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

What is the most important information I should know about pneumococcal 13-valent vaccine (Prevnar 13)?

The pneumococcal 13-valent vaccine is given in a series of shots. The first shot is usually given when the child is 2 months old. The booster shots are then given at 4 months, 6 months, and 12 to 15 months of age.

In a child older than 6 months who has not yet received this vaccine, the first dose can be given any time from the age of 7 months through 5 years (before the 6th birthday).

If the child is less than 1 year old at the time of the first shot, he or she will need 2 booster doses. If the child is 12 to 23 months old at the time of the first shot, he or she will need 1 booster dose. A child who is 2 years or older at the time of the first shot may need only the one shot and no booster doses.

The timing of this vaccination is very important for it to be effective. Your child's individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by the health department of the state you live in.

Keep track of any and all side effects your child has after receiving this vaccine. If the child ever has to receive another pneumococcal 13-valent vaccine in the future, you will need to tell the doctor if the first shot caused any side effects.

Your child can still receive a vaccine if he or she has a cold or fever. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until the child gets better before receiving this vaccine.

Becoming infected with pneumococcal disease (such as pneumonia or meningitis) is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Be sure to keep your child on a regular schedule for other immunizations against diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps, hepatitis, or varicella (chicken pox). Your doctor or state health department can provide you with a recommended immunization schedule.



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