What is the pneumococcal vaccine?
The pneumococcal vaccine protects children and adults against different types of bacteria that cause pneumococcal disease.
Vaccines can provide protection against a single disease, or can be made to provide protection against more than one disease. The pneumococcal vaccine is only available as a single vaccine format
Vaccines commonly used in infants and children:
- Prevnar® 13 (Pfizer)
Vaccines commonly used in older adults:
Who should get the pneumococcal vaccine?
In general, everyone should get this vaccine. The pneumococcal vaccine is given starting in infancy and at scheduled times throughout childhood. It is also given to older adults over 65 years old to have ongoing protection. Vaccines are carefully scheduled, so it is important that everyone receives them on time.
For a list of publicly funded vaccines in Ontario, see the Ontario Immunization Schedule.
Who should not get the pneumococcal vaccine?
- People who have had serious allergic reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine or to a previous dose of the vaccine itself should not receive the pneumoccocal vaccine.
Your health care provider will ask you questions about your health before giving you any vaccine. This will help them identify allergies you might have and safely manage potential allergic reactions.
What are the possible side effects of the pneumococcal vaccine?
You could have mild side effects after being vaccinated, but they usually go away in one to two days. Some people can be allergic to the vaccine, just like they might have a food or medication allergy.
Learn more about common vaccine side effects and what to do about them.
Is the pneumococcal vaccine required to attend school, daycare or to work in certain settings?
To find out which vaccines are required for children to attend school or daycare in Ontario, see the School Immunization Checklist (Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care).
Children attending daycare
- Parents and guardians must also report the vaccinations to Public Health to keep their records up-to-date.
- Exemptions: signed statements must be submitted for vaccination exemptions based on medical reasons or reasons of conscience or religious belief.
- Access and update your immunization records.
What else should you know about the pneumococcal vaccine?
This vaccine is publicly funded for certain individuals and available at cost for others. Anyone who meets the publicly funded criteria may get the vaccine for free, no matter where they get it in Ontario (in a hospital, walk-in clinic, health care provider’s office or public health unit). It can also be given at cost to people who have personal risk factors that place them at higher risk of developing pneumococcal disease.
For a list of publicly funded vaccines in Ontario, see the Full List of Publicly Funded Vaccines (Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care).
Risks and benefits
Talk to your health care provider about getting vaccinated if you have special health conditions or concerns. Learn more about special considerations before being vaccinated.
Where can you get the pneumoccocal vaccine?
- Public Health offers this vaccine at one of our immunization clinics.
- You may also be able to get vaccinated at your doctor’s office, a walk-in clinic or community health centre. Appointments may be required.
For more information:
- Contact us.
- See our frequently asked questions or send us your question.
- See our list of helpful websites for information about vaccination.