Prevnar is approved to help prevent invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and certain types of ear infections. It is a vaccine that is specially designed for infants and toddlers, as the risk of IPD is quite high during infancy. However, there are approved uses of Prevnar for older children as well; children up to nine years of age who have not received this vaccine can also get vaccinated.
What Is Prevnar Used For?
Prevnar® (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) is a routine childhood vaccine used to prevent pneumococcal disease, including serious pneumococcal diseases, as well as ear infections. Ideally, it is used in infants and toddlers, although it can also be used in older children who did not receive the vaccine earlier.
(Prevnar is no longer available, as it has been replaced by a "new-and-improved" version. Please see Prevnar 13 for more information about the newer vaccine.)
In particular, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends routine vaccination with Prevnar for children under the age of two. The CDC also recommends Prevnar for children two to four years old (up to the fifth birthday) who have not already completed the Prevnar series, although this vaccine provides the most protection if it is given "on schedule" and completed by the time a child is 15 months of age.
Most importantly, Prevnar helps to prevent invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD), a group of serious infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. IPD diseases include:
- Bacterial meningitis (S. pneumoniae is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in the United States)
- Bacteremia (a bloodstream infection)
IPD causes about 200 deaths per year among children under the age of five in the United States.