Pneumococcal Vaccines

Adult Pneumococcal Program Details

A single dose of a Prevenar 13 is recommended for all non-Indigenous adults at 70 years of age or older and for all Indigenous adults at 50 years of age or older.

Pneumococcal disease is caused by Streptococcus pneumonia bacterium. There are over 90 different strains, with many existing in the respiratory passages of humans and causing no ill health. Only a small number of strains are responsible for most cases of invasive disease in people. Pneumoccocal infections are preventable with vaccination.

Infection commonly occurs in the:

  • lungs
  • middle ear
  • sinuses
  • blood stream
  • meninges – lining of the brain and spinal cord

Pnuemococci may account for:

  • more than one-third of all community acquired pneumonia
  • up to half of hospitalised pneumonia in adults

Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria are spread through airborne droplets of mucus or saliva by:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • touching contaminated surfaces

Certain groups of people are at greater risk of getting pneumococcal disease including:

  • people over 65
  • Aboriginal people
  • Smokers
  • People with existing chronic diseases (e.g cancer, lung or kidney disease), weakened immune systems, impaired spleen function or having no spleen.
  • Children under 2 or in childcare

Clinical trials have shown that Prevenar 13 is protective against pneumococcal disease in adults aged 65 years and over. Efficacy was:

  • 46% against a 1st episode of vaccine-type community acquired pneumonia
  • 75% against a 1st episode of vaccine type invasive pneumococcal disease


Healthy WA

Australian Immunisation Handbook

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