The consumer & scientific resource hub for pneumococcal disease

Is it Preventable?

There are at least 90 different strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae. Only some these are regular causes of IPD in Australia. Immunisation against these strains greatly reduces the risk of disease. Vaccines are available to help protect against the strains that cause most disease.

What vaccines are available?

There are two different vaccines. 

Vaccines for children under three years

The vaccines used for children provide protection against 13 of the pneumococcal strains that most often cause disease in children. There is also a supplementary dose program for some children who have already been vaccinated. The vaccine is provided as part of the funded National Immunisation Program for these groups. The vaccine has a number of benefits including:

    • reducing chances of getting pneumococcal bacteraemia, meningitis, pneumonia and middle ear infections
    • reducing the chance children will need grommets by about 20%
    • preventing children from spreading the Pneumococcus bacteria to “at risk” adults such as grandparents or at risk children.

Vaccines for older children and adults

The vaccine for older children and adults provides protection against 23 types of the pneumococcal strains that cause most disease in older children and adults. The benefits of this vaccine include:

    • reducing chances of getting pneumococcal bacteraemia, meningitis, pneumonia and middle ear infections

Are there any side effects?

Severe allergic reaction is extremely rare.

About 50 per cent of people experience soreness in the arm. Other common side effects are redness and swelling at the injection site and or a slight fever (below 39 °C).

If mild reactions do occur, they may last one to two days. If reactions are severe or persistent, or if you are worried, contact your doctor or hospital.