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All about: Prevnar

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Generic Name: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-pediatric only), 7-valent (NOO moe KOK al KON joo gate)
Brand Names: Prevnar

What is pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)?

Pneumococcal disease is a serious infection caused by a bacteria. Pneumococcal bacteria can infect the sinuses and inner ear. It can also infect the lungs, blood, and brain, and these conditions can be fatal.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) is used to prevent infection caused by pneumococcal bacteria. PCV contains 7 different types of pneumococcal bacteria.

PCV works by exposing your child to a small dose of the bacteria or a protein from the bacteria, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. PCV will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

PCV is for use only in children between the ages of 6 weeks and 10 years. For adults and children who are 2 years of age and older, another vaccine called Pneumovax (pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine [PPV] 23-valent) is used.

Becoming infected with pneumococcal disease (such as pneumonia or meningitis) is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Like any vaccine, PCV may not provide protection from disease in every person.

What is the most important information I should know about pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)?

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is given in a series of shots. The first shot is usually given when the child is 2 months old. The booster shots are then given at 4 months, 6 months, and 12 to 15 months of age.

The timing of this vaccination is very important for it to be effective. Your child's individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by the health department of the state you live in. Keep track of any and all side effects your child has after receiving this vaccine. If the child ever has to receive another pneumococcal vaccine in the future, you will need to tell the doctor if the first shot caused any side effects.

Your child can still receive a vaccine if he or she has a cold or fever. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until the child gets better before receiving this vaccine.

Becoming infected with pneumococcal disease (such as pneumonia or meningitis) is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Be sure to keep your child on a regular schedule for other immunizations against diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps, hepatitis, or varicella (chicken pox). Your doctor or state health department can provide you with a recommended immunization schedule.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving this vaccine?

Keep track of any and all side effects your child has after receiving this vaccine. If the child ever has to receive another pneumococcal vaccine in the future, you will need to tell the doctor if the first shot caused any side effects. Your child should not receive this vaccine if he or she has ever had an allergic reaction to a pneumococcal vaccine, or if the child has received cancer chemotherapy or radiation treatment in the past 3 months.

Before receiving PCV, tell your doctor if your child is allergic to any drugs, or if the child has:

  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia or easy bruising;

  • a history of seizures;

  • an allergy to latex rubber;

  • a weak immune system caused by disease, bone marrow transplant, or by using certain medicines or receiving cancer treatments; or

  • if the child is taking a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin).

Your child can still receive a vaccine if he or she has a cold or fever. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until the child gets better before receiving this vaccine.

How is this vaccine given?

This vaccine is given as an injection (shot) into a muscle. Your child will receive this injection in a doctor's office or other clinic setting.

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is given in a series of shots. The first shot is usually given when the child is 2 months old. The booster shots are then given at 4 months, 6 months, and 12 to 15 months of age.

The first PCV injection should be given no earlier than 6 weeks of age. Allow at least 2 months to pass between injections.

The timing of this vaccination is very important for it to be effective. Follow your doctor's instructions.

If your child is already 6 months or older, he or she can still receive this vaccine on the following schedule:

  • Age 7-11 months: two injections at least 4 weeks apart, followed by a third injection after the child turns 1 year (at least 2 months after the second injection);

  • Age 12-23 months: two injections at least 2 months apart;

  • Age 2-9 years: one injection.

Your doctor may recommend treating fever and pain with an aspirin-free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, and others) when the shot is given and for the next 24 hours. Follow the label directions or your doctor's instructions about how much of this medicine to give your child.

It is especially important to prevent fever from occurring in a child who has a seizure disorder such as epilepsy.

Be sure to keep your child on a regular schedule for other immunizations such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis, and varicella (chicken pox). Your doctor or state health department can provide you with a recommended immunization schedule.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you will miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

Be sure your child receives all recommended doses of this vaccine. If your child does not receive the full series of vaccines, he or she may not be fully protected against the disease.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of this vaccine is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after receiving this vaccine?

Avoid receiving this vaccine while you are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments. You may need to wait until it has been several months after you have completed your treatments. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) side effects

Your child should not receive a booster vaccine if he or she had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot. Keep track of any and all side effects your child has after receiving this vaccine. When the child receives a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shots caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with pneumococcal disease (such as pneumonia or meningitis) is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • high fever (103 degrees or higher);

  • seizure (convulsions);

  • easy bruising or bleeding; or

  • severe pain, itching, irritation, or skin changes where the shot was given.

Less serious side effects include

  • mild soreness, redness, swelling, or a hard lump where the shot was given;

  • weakness, tired feeling;

  • crying, fussiness;

  • drowsiness, restless sleep;

  • low fever (102 degrees or less);

  • vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite; or

  • mild skin rash.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Contact your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)?

Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor about all other vaccines your child has recently received.

Also tell the doctor if your child has recently received drugs or treatments that can weaken the immune system, including:

  • an oral, nasal, inhaled, or injectable steroid medicine;

  • medications to treat psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders, such as azathioprine (Imuran), efalizumab (Raptiva), etanercept (Enbrel), leflunomide (Arava), and others; or

  • medicines to treat or prevent organ transplant rejection, such as basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral, Gengraf), muromonab-CD3 (Orthoclone), mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept), sirolimus (Rapamune), or tacrolimus (Prograf).

If your child is using any of these medications, he or she may not be able to receive the vaccine, or may need to wait until the other treatments are finished.

There may be other drugs that can affect this vaccine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications your child has received. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your child's doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist may have additional information about pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. You may also find additional information from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.03. Revision Date: 07/13/2007 8:43:03 AM.

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