Pneumococcal Disease

Let’s get Texans vaccinated now

Pneumococcal vaccines are the best defense against infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. These common bacteria cause a variety of pneumococcal illnesses. Some of these illnesses, like sinus or middle ear infections cause discomfort for a few days. Other pneumococcal illnesses such as pneumonia or meningitis, can be severe and even life-threatening.

How do these diseases spread?

Pneumococcal disease spreads easily from one person to another through contact with droplets on the skin or in the air. It only takes a cough or sneeze from up to six feet away.

Which Texans are most at risk?

Pneumococcal disease can cause serious illness and even death, particularly for young children, the elderly and people with certain medical conditions.

Young children under 2 years old

While children’s immune systems are still developing, the pneumococcal vaccine protects them against fierce bacteria.

Adults 65 years and older

Elderly people’s immune system may become weaker with age and increases the risk of getting a devastating pneumococcal illness.

People with other health conditions

Other people who are also at higher risk of pneumococcal illness include the following:

  • Chronic illness (heart, liver, kidney or lung)
  • Emphysema
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Alcoholism
  • Cochlear implants
  • Damaged or absent spleen
  • Cancer
  • Transplant recipients
  • Smokers
  • Other conditions that weaken the immune system

Adults who live in long-term care facilities 

Places like extended care facilities and hospitals bring more risk simply because there is more exposure to germs.

What is the best prevention?

Get vaccinated! Below is a general guideline to pneumococcal vaccination.

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV15 or PCV20)

  • Children at two months, four months, six months and 12 to15 months old
  • People 2 years to 64 years with certain medical conditions
  • Adults 65 years or older

Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPSV23)

  • Adults 65 years or older
  • People 2 years to 64 years with certain medical conditions
  • Adults 19 years through 64 years who smoke cigarettes

Do you or a loved one need to get immunized? Ask your doctor.

Your doctor is your best source of information about vaccines for you and your family. To learn more about pneumococcal disease risk factors and the vaccinations that defend against them, visit:

CDC: Pneumococcal Vaccination Information

CDC: Pneumococcal Disease: Causes and How It Spreads

View print materials addressing pneumococcal diseases. (Stock # 11-16781)

These materials are available for ordering through