Coming Your Way: Pneumococcal Immunization
Ellen Link, MD, Associate Professor, Division of General Pediatrics,
Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends that all children younger than 24 months be vaccinated with Prevnar (PCV7), the first pneumococcal vaccine approved for use in children younger than age 2.
Every year in the US, streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus, causes 1,400 cases of meningitis, 17,000 cases of bloodstream infections, and 71,000 cases of pneumonia in children younger than 5. PCV7 targets the strains of pneumococcus that account for about 80% of pneumococcal infection in infants.
PCV7 can be administered concurrently with other recommended childhood vaccines at 2, 4, 6, and 12-15 months of age. Children who begin immunization between 7 and 23 months of age receive fewer doses; you can find the AAP immunization schedule at http://www.aap.org/.
Children between the ages of 24-59 months, including those at low to moderate risk, may also benefit from vaccination; particularly those who are:
- In group day care
- Have frequent or complicated episodes of acute otitis media
- Are socially or economically disadvantaged
To learn more, visit "Recommendations for the Prevention of Pneumococcal Infection" at http://www.aap.org/.