The consumer & scientific resource hub for pneumococcal disease


There are two different types of pneumococcal vaccines – pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV).

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV)

  • 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (23vPPV)

23vPPV contains capsular polysaccharides derived from the 23 most frequent or most virulent types of S. pneumonia. PPV induces significant immune responses in immunocompetent adults, including the elderly, with no substantial differences in immune response between older and younger subjects, but poor responses in the immunocompromised15. 23vPPV is poorly immunogenic for most serotypes in children aged <2 years and does not induce immune memory.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV)

The immunogenicity of capsular polysaccharides can be enhanced by conjugation to carrier proteins.

PCV formulations vary in the number of pneumococcal serotypes included and the conjugating proteins used. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines are immunogenic in young infants and can induce an immune memory response.

  • 10-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (10vPCV) – registered for use in Australia since 2009 and is included under the NIP.
  • 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (13vPCV) – registered in Australia since 2010, and used in the NIP since July 2011

Who should receive pneumococcal vaccination

Pneumococcal vaccination is recommended for all children < 5 years of age and is funded by the National Immunisation Program. Children > 5 years and adults with medical conditions associated with an increased risk of invasive pneumococcal disease should receive pneumococcal vaccinations.  Non-indigenous adults ≥ 65 years and Indigenous adults ≥ 50 years should routinely be offered pneumococcal vaccination. The type and number of doses of pneumococcal vaccination vary in different age groups and risk groups. See the Australian Immunisation Handbook for further details.


Dosage and administration

The dose of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (10vPCV, 13vPCV) is 0.5 mL, to be given by IM injection, in the opposite limb to other injectable vaccines, if possible.

The dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (23vPPV) is 0.5 mL, to be given by either IM or SC injection, in the opposite limb to other injectable vaccines, if possible. The IM route is preferred, as a 3-fold greater rate of injection site reactions is found following administration of 23vPPV by the SC route.15 A vaccine dose administered subcutaneously does not need to be repeated.

10vPCV (Synflorix) is registered for use in infants and children aged 6 weeks up to 5 years.

13vPCV (Prevenar 13) is registered for use in infants and children aged 6 weeks up to 17 years and adults aged ≥50 years.

23vPPV (Pneumovax 23) is registered for use in children aged ≥2 years and in adults.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

23vPPV is not routinely recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women – deferral of vaccination with 23vPPV until after delivery is recommended unless there is an increased risk of IPD. 23vPPV may be given to breastfeeding women.

Data on use the use of 10vPCV and 13vPCV during pregnancy or lactation are not available.


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