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Who is at risk?

Conditions resulting in high risk of IPD include:
  • Asthma
  • Chronic cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) leak
  • Chronic neurologic condition that may impair clearance of oral secretions
  • Cochlear implants (including those children who are to receive these hearing devices)
  • Chronic heart or lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Spleen not working or has been removed (asplenia, functional or anatomic)
  • Sickle cell disease or other conditions that affect hemoglobin function
  • Chronic liver disease (including hepatic cirrhosis due to any cause)
  • Leukemia and lymphoma (and other malignant neoplasms)
  • Solid organ or islet transplant (candidate or recipient)

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that all children and adolescents with asthma (ages 2-18) should be vaccinated against IPD with PNEU-C-13.

High-risk children and adolescents 6-17 years should be vaccinated

Children and adolescents at high risk of IPD who have not previously received the PNEU-C-13 vaccine should receive a single PNEU-C-13 dose.

If a child or adolescent at high risk of IPD has not previously received the PNEU-P-23 vaccine, one dose of the PNEU-P-23 vaccine should also be administered at least 8 weeks after the PNEU-C-13 vaccine.

What is invasive pneumococcal disease?

An infection caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae when it is found in a body site that should normally be free of any bacteria.
It can lead to these potentially life-threatening diseases:

Prevnar 13 is not indicated to reduce complications of IPD, such as death.

What is Prevnar 13?
Prevnar 13 is a conjugate polysaccharide vaccine administered into the arm or leg muscle. In children, it is used for the prevention of diseases such as bacteraemic pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis caused by 13 types of the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae.

How does it work?

Vaccines teach our bodies to recognize and respond to viruses and bacteria, by making products called antibodies that help fight the disease. Our immune system can remember and fight them if they attack in the future.

The Prevnar 13 vaccine works by helping the body make its own antibodies, which helps protect you against diseases caused by 13 types of the bacteria Streptococcus

Prevnar 13 safety information

Prevnar 13 should not be used if your child is allergic (hypersensitive) to the active substances, to any other ingredients, or to any other vaccine that contains diphtheria toxoid.

Take special care with Prevnar 13:
  • If your child has any present or past medical problems after any dose of Prevnar 7 or Prevnar 13
  • If your child is sick with a high fever
  • If your child has any bleeding problems

Prevnar 13 will only protect against diseases caused by the types of Streptococcus pneumoniae covered by the vaccine. As with any vaccine, Prevnar 13 will not protect 100% of those who receive the vaccine.

Following vaccination with Prevnar 13, children and adolescents may experience redness, pain, tenderness (including impaired movement), swelling or hardness at the vaccination site, fever, irritability, drowsiness, restless sleep, decreased appetite, hives, diahrrea, vomitting and rash.

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about vaccination with Prevnar 13.

What is invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD)?

IPD occurs when bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae invades body sites that normally should not contain bacteria, such as the lining around the brain (meningitis), blood (sepsis), or lungs and blood (bacteraemic pneumonia).

IPD primarily affects:

  • young children
  • individuals with certain risk factors such as lifestyle or underlying medical conditions, and
  • anyone 65 or over

In young children, bacteraemia accounts for 50 to 70% of all episodes of IPD, followed by pneumonia (15 to 25%) and meningitis (4%).

In adults, bacteraemic pneumonia accounts for 50 to 80% of all episodes of IPD.

Invasive” disease means germs invade parts of the body that are normally germ-free.


Meningitis is inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord and is generally caused by an infection.

Symptoms include:

  • Stiff neck
  • Fever and headache
  • Pain when looking into bright lights
  • Confusion

In babies, meningitis may cause poor eating and drinking, low alertness and vomiting.


Of children younger than 5 years old who get pneumococcal meningitis:

  • About 1 out of 15 will die from the infection
  • Others may have long-term problems, such as hearing loss or developmental delay

The chance of death increases among elderly patients.


Bacteraemia and sepsis

Bacteraemia and sepsis are infections where bacteria enter the bloodstream.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Low alertness


About 1 out of 100 children younger than 5 years old with bacteraemia infection will die from it.

The chance of death is increased among elderly patients.


Bacteraemic pneumonia

Bacteraemic pneumonia is inflammation of one or both of the lungs with pneumococcus bacteria invading and entering the bloodstream.

Bacteraemic pneumonia accounts for 15-25% of the cases of IPD in young children and 50-80% of cases in adults.

Symptoms include:
  • Fever and chills
  • Cough
  • Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain

Older adults with pneumonia may experience confusion or low alertness, rather than the more common symptoms listed above.


Complications of bacteraemic pneumonia include:
  • Infection of the space between membranes that surround the lungs and chest cavity (empyema)
  • Inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart (pericarditis)
  • Blockage of the airway that allows air into the lungs (endobronchial obstruction)
    • - lung collapse (atelectasis)
    • - collection of pus (abscess) in the lungs

Prevnar 13 is not indicated to reduce complications of IPD, including death, neurological complications or hearing loss.


How does it spread?

The Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria can be passed from person to person through talking, coughing or sneezing. Most people who are exposed to the bacteria do not get sick.

Can IPD be treated?

IPD can be treated with antibiotics.

Although Prevnar 13 can help protect against diseases such as meningitis, sepsis, bacteraemia and bacteraemic pneumonia caused by 13 serotypes of the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, it is not intended to be used in the treatment of active infection.

As with any vaccine, Prevnar 13 will not protect 100% of those who receive the vaccine.