The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (known as PCV) given to children as part of the routine immunisation programme.
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Pneumococcal (Streptococcus pneumoniae) infection is one of the most common causes of meningitis (an infection of the lining of the brain). It also causes ear infections (otitis media), pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and some other serious illnesses. Up to 60% of children carry pneumococcal bacteria in the back of their nose and throat. They easily pass these bacteria on to others by coughing, sneezing and close contact.
The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (known as PCV) is given to children as part of the routine immunisation programme. It is also given to some individuals who are at risk due to underlying medical conditions. Vaccination provides good protection against pneumococcal infection.
The vaccine does not protect against all types of pneumococcal infection and does not protect against meningitis caused by other bacteria or viruses.
There are two different types of pneumococcal vaccine.
The PCV vaccine is offered to all children under two years old as part of the NHS routine childhood vaccination programme. This vaccine may also be required by some individuals with underlying medical conditions. This page covers the PCV vaccine.
Routine immunisation with PCV is offered to:
Some medical conditions increase the risk of severe infections such as:
People with certain conditions may be offered vaccinations depending on their age at diagnosis, medical condition and previous vaccinations.
Talk to your doctor or nurse if you think you or your child need the vaccine.
If you have any questions or require further information about the PCV vaccine speak to your GP, Practice Nurse, Health Visitor, or School Nurse.
The Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) (23 serotypes) vaccine is offered to people aged 65 and over and to people at high risk due to long-term health conditions.
Prevenar 13 (PCV 13) is given to babies in Wales as part of the NHS routine immunisation programme and some people who have underlying medical conditions.
The vaccine is inactivated. Babies will normally be given the vaccine as an injection in their upper leg (thigh) or upper arm. Older children and adults will normally be given the vaccine in their upper arm.
You can learn more about this vaccine by reading the patient leaflet available on the following link:
If your child has missed any doses speak to your GP or practice nurse for advice.
Like most vaccines, the pneumococcal vaccine can sometimes cause mild side effects, including:
Other reactions are uncommon or rare. For more information on common, uncommon and rare side effects see:
If you are concerned about symptoms call NHS 111 Wales (external site). Calls to NHS 111 Wales are free from landlines and mobile phones.
You can report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card scheme. You can do this online at yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk or by calling the Yellow Card scheme hotline on 0800 731 6789 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).
If you would like to learn more about the PCV 13 vaccine or the disease it protects against, a few information resources are available to help. You can also call NHS 111 or your GP practice for advice if you have any questions.