Common questions and answers about the New Pneumonia Vaccine:

With increased commercial and ad time, the pharmacy has been receiving many questions on Prevnar 13® —the newest pneumonia vaccine. With this, we have created a blog to answer some frequently asked questions to help increase understanding and to find out if the vaccine is right for you.

What is pneumococcal pneumonia?

Pneumococcal pneumonia is caused by a common bacteria, Streptococcus pneumoniae. The symptoms are distinct and can appear quickly—chest pain with difficulty breathing, high fever, shaking, chills, excessive sweating, fatigue, and cough with phlegm that persists or gets worse. Symptoms can last for weeks or longer even after treatment with antibiotics.

How do I contract pneumococcal pneumonia?

The bacteria is spread through airborne droplets released into the air by coughing or sneezing, or exchanged through close contact. According to the CDC, 5-70% of healthy adults are carry Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria in their throats at any given time.

Who is at risk?

Everyone. However, children under 2 years of age and adults 65 years and older, people with certain medical pneumoniaconditions, and cigarette smokers are at the highest risk.

Prevnar 13® vs. Pneumovax 23®?

Prevnar 13® has been shown to provide the best immune response to the 13 most common strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae. To provide additional coverage, it is recommended that you receive the Pneumovax 23® as well. This gives you protection against even more of the possible strains of pneumonia.

Who should get the vaccine?

Prevnar 13® is routinely given to children at 2, 4, 6, and 12-15 months of age. It is also recommended for children and adults 2-64 years of age with at risk health conditions, and all adults aged 65 and older.
At risk health conditions include:

  • Chronic illnesses (lung, heart, liver, or kidney disease; asthma; diabetes; or alcoholism)
  • Those that weaken the immune system (HIV/AIDS, cancer, or damaged/absent spleen)
  • Living in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
  • Cochlear implants or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks
  • Cigarette smokers

Which is best for you?

Here are the recommendations on when to get Prevnar 13 and when to get Pneumovax 23 in those aged 65 and older:

  • If you have never had either vaccine:
    • -Get Prevnar 13 once you are 65 or older then get Pneumovax 23 ≥ one year later
  • If you received Pneumovax 23 once you were 65 or older:
    • Follow up in ≥ 1 year for your Prevnar 13
  • If you received Pneumovax 23 before you were 65:
    • Follow up in ≥ 1 years once you turn 65 for your Prevnar 13
    • Then get another Pneumovax 23 at least 1 year after the Prevnar 13

Side effects of the vaccine?

As with most injections, the commonly reported side effects are injection site reactions such as redness, swelling, and pain at the injection site. This should resolve on its own within a few days.

For more information you can go to or by contacting one of your Valu-Med pharmacists at 405.741.1200 today.

Contact Number        (405) 741-1200