Antibiotic-resistant pneumococcal infections have become a major health problem. In 2000, the FDA approved Prevnar, a vaccine that provides protection against 13 types of pneumococcal infections – the leading cause of serious meningitis and pneumonia. Pneumococcus is also the number one cause of ear infections and sinus infections, something that affects many young children. Prevnarhas proven to be a major advance in children’s health. The vaccine is now recommended for all children under 2 years old, the ages when these infections are most common. It is a four dose series, typically given at 2, 4, 6, and 12-15 months. It is also recommended for older children who might be prone to these infections, or who have not received this vaccine previously.
In addition to the Prevnar vaccine, there is also another pneumococcus vaccine (PPSV23) that is indicated for adults older than 65 years, and for people aged 2 to -65 years with certain medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe pneumococcal disease.