Pneumococcal Vaccines for Adults: Vaccine Options Table

What it is used for

PREVNAR® 13 (conjugate vaccine)

  • PREVNAR® 13 is used to help prevent pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal disease (such as brain and blood infections) caused by the types of pneumococcus bacteria included in the vaccine.

PNEUMOVAX® 23 (polysaccharide vaccine)

  • PNEUMOVAX® 23 is used to help prevent pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal disease (such as brain and blood infections) caused by the types of pneumococcus bacteria included in the vaccine.

How it works

PREVNAR® 13 (conjugate vaccine)

  • PREVNAR® 13 is a polysaccharide conjugate vaccine. "Polysaccharides" are sugars that cover bacteria such as S. pneumoniae. "Conjugate" means that the polysaccharides are linked to a carrier protein to help the immune system recognize them. The vaccine works by helping the body make its own antibodies to protect against diseases caused by the types of Streptococcus pneumoniae covered by the vaccine.

PNEUMOVAX® 23 (polysaccharide vaccine)

  • PNEUMOVAX® 23 is a polysaccharide vaccine. "Polysaccharides" are sugars that cover bacteria such as S. pneumoniae. The vaccine works by helping the body make its own antibodies to protect against diseases caused by the types of Streptococcus pneumoniae covered by the vaccine.

How it is given

PREVNAR® 13 (conjugate vaccine)

  • The vaccine is given as a single dose into a muscle. People who have had a hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) will need a different dosing schedule.

PNEUMOVAX® 23 (polysaccharide vaccine)

  • The vaccine is given as a single dose into a muscle or under the skin. A second dose of the vaccine may be recommended for those at high risk for a pneumococcal infection.

Side effects

PREVNAR® 13 (conjugate vaccine)

  • *Most common: decreased appetite; headache; diarrhea; vomiting (in adults 18-49 years); rash; new or aggravated joint pain; new or aggravated muscle pain; chills; fatigue; any pain, tenderness, redness, swelling, or hardness at the injection site; limitation of arm movement; fever
  • Rare: collapse or shock-like state

PNEUMOVAX® 23 (polysaccharide vaccine)

  • *Most common: soreness, redness, swelling, warmth and hardening at the injection site; fever
  • Rare: fatigue, chills, feeling unwell, nausea, vomiting, enlarged and/or inflamed lymph glands, arthritis, headache, allergic reaction, joint pain, muscle pain, altered skin sensation, hives or rash, pain, decreased ability to move limb

*Note that this is not a complete list of side effects; consult the product monograph or your health professional for a full list.

Protection

PREVNAR® 13 (conjugate vaccine)

  • Protects against the following types of pneumococcus bacteria: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6B*, 7F, 9V*, 14*, 18C, 19A*, 19F* and 23F*.

*These serotypes most frequently cause drug-resistant pneumococcal infections in the United States.

PNEUMOVAX® 23 (polysaccharide vaccine)

  • Protects against the following types of pneumococcus bacteria: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6B*, 7F, 8, 9N, 9V*, 10A, 11A, 12F, 14*, 15B, 17F, 18C, 19A*, 19F*, 20, 22F, 23F*, 33F.

*These serotypes most frequently cause drug-resistant pneumococcal infections in the United States.

NACI recommendations:

Both vaccines are used to help prevent pneumococcal disease in adults. Some adults who have impaired immune systems may benefit from receiving both vaccines for optimal protection. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), a committee of the Public Health Agency of Canada, advises health care providers on using vaccines, offers the following recommendations:

  • Adults 65 and over who have not been previously vaccinated should receive PNEUMOVAX® 23.
  • On an individual basis, for adults 65 and over (who not have been previously vaccinated), if immunization with PREVNAR® 13 is being considered, PREVNAR® 13 is given first, followed by PNEUMOVAX® 23.
  • Adults with conditions such as sickle cell disease, HIV, certain cancers, or other conditions that impair the immune system should receive PREVNAR® 13 followed by PNEUMOVAX® 23.
  • Adults 18-64 with chronic medical conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes, heart/lung/kidney/liver disease) should receive PNEUMOVAX® 23.
  • Adults 18-64 with lifestyle risk factors (e.g., homelessness, alcoholism, smoking, living in long-term care) should receive PNEUMOVAX® 23.

Consult with your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about which vaccine(s) may be suitable for you.

Note: These vaccines are also used in children, but this information covers their use in adults only. If you have a question about using these vaccines in children, speak to your healthcare provider.

The content presented on this page is made possible by Pfizer Canada Inc.