Prevnar Warnings and Precautions
Before your child gets vaccinated, warnings and precautions for Prevnar should be reviewed. It is important to know that this vaccine does not protect against all types of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, and it does not provide protection against infections caused by other types of bacteria and viruses. It is usually best to postpone the vaccination if your child is moderately to severely ill.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Receiving Prevnar?
You should talk to a healthcare provider before your child receives Prevnar® (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) if your child is moderately to severely ill or has:
- A bleeding disorder (or is taking an anticoagulant)
- An immune-suppressing condition such as HIV or AIDS, diabetes, or cancer
- Had any sort of a reaction to any vaccine in the past
- A history of febrile seizures
- Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Make sure to tell the healthcare provider about any medications your child is taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Prevnar is no longer available, as it has been replaced by a "new-and-improved" version.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.)
Specific Warnings and Precautions With Prevnar
Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to getting this vaccine include the following:
- Prevnar does not protect against all types of Streptococcus pneumoniae, and it certainly does not provide protection against infections caused by other types of bacteria and viruses.
- Prevnar does not contain thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative). Parents who are concerned about exposing their children to thimerosal can be confident that this vaccine has no thimerosal (not even trace amounts). Some parents are concerned about aluminum content of vaccines; Prevnar contains 0.125 mg of aluminum per dose.
- This vaccine is not made from human fetal components or animal components, as some vaccines are.
- Care must be taken when giving any intramuscular injection (including Prevnar) to individuals with bleeding disorders or who are taking anticoagulant medications ("blood thinners"). In some cases, your child's healthcare provider may decide that the risk of the injection is not worth the benefit.
- Prevnar should never be given intravenously (into a vein). It is meant for intramuscular injection only.
- Febrile seizures (seizures associated with high fevers in young children) have been rarely associated with Prevnar. If your child has a tendency to get febrile seizures, ask your healthcare provider if you should give an anti-fever medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) to help avoid febrile seizures.
- Your child can receive Prevnar if he or she has a mild illness (such as the common cold). However, it is usually best to postpone the vaccine in the case of a moderate or severe illness.
- Make sure the healthcare provider knows if your child has ever had any serious reactions to any vaccines in the past.
- If your child has an immune-suppressing condition, Prevnar may not be as effective as usual for protection against pneumococcal disease.
- Prevnar can potentially interact with a few other medications or vaccines (see Prevnar Drug Interactions).
- Prevnar is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means it is unknown if it is safe for use during pregnancy. However, Prevnar is a childhood vaccine and should not be given to pregnant women.
- At this time, it is unknown if Prevnar passes through breast milk. However, this is a childhood vaccine and should not be given to breastfeeding women.