Policy statement: Recommendations for the prevention of pneumococcal infections, including the use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar), pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, and antibiotic prophylaxis

Academic Article


  • Heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) is recommended for universal use in children 23 months and younger, to be given concurrently with other recommended childhood vaccines at 2, 4, 6, and 12 to 15 months of age. For children 7 to 23 months old who have not received previous doses of PCV7, administration of a reduced number of doses is recommended. Two doses of PCV7 are recommended for children 24 to 59 months old at high risk of invasive pneumococcal infection - including children with functional, anatomic, or congenital asplenia; infection with human immunodeficiency virus; and other predisposing conditions - who have not been immunized previously with PCV7. Recommendations have been made for use of 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide (23PS) vaccine in high-risk children to expand serotype coverage. High-risk children should be given vaccines at the earliest possible opportunity. Use of antibiotic prophylaxis in children younger than 5 years with functional or anatomic asplenia, including children with sickle cell disease, continues to be recommended. Children who have not experienced invasive pneumococcal infection and have received recommended pneumococcal immunizations may discontinue prophylaxis after 5 years of age. The safety and efficacy of PCV7 and 23PS in children 24 months or older at moderate or lower risk of invasive pneumococcal infection remain under investigation. Current US Food and Drug Administration indications are for administration of PCV7 only to children younger than 24 months. Data are insufficient to recommend routine administration of PCV7 for children at moderate risk of pneumococcal invasive infection, including all children 24 to 35 months old, children 36 to 59 months old who attend out-of-home care, and children 36 to 59 months old who are of Native American (American Indian and Alaska Native) or African American descent. However, all children 24 to 59 months old, regardless of whether they are at low or moderate risk, may benefit from the administration of pneumococcal immunizations. Therefore, a single dose of PCV7 or 23PS vaccine may be given to children 24 months or older. The 23PS is an acceptable alternative to PCV7, although an enhanced immune response and probable reduction of nasopharyngeal carriage favor the use of PCV7 whenever possible.
  • Published In

  • Pediatrics  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Abramson JS; Baker CJ; Fisher MC; Gerber MA; Meissner HC; Murray DL; Overturf GD; Prober CG; Rennels MB; Saari TN
  • Start Page

  • 362
  • End Page

  • 366
  • Volume

  • 106
  • Issue

  • 2 I