But, which one is best for you or your loved ones?
Who should receive the Pneumovax 23 vaccine?
The CDC recommends that all individuals over 65 years old receive Pneumovax 23, even if they already received another pneumonia vaccine.
The CDC also recommends that individuals ages 2 through 64 receive Pneumovax 23 if they meet any of the following criteria:
- Cigarette smokers 19 years of age and older
- Individuals with chronic liver disease
- Candidates for or recipients of cochlear implants
- Individuals with weak immune systems
- Those who have received an organ transplant
- Individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes, COPD, heart disease, renal failure or nephrotic syndrome
Who should receive the Prevnar 13 vaccine?
The CDC recommends that individuals who meet any of the following criteria receive Prevnar 13:
- Adults 65 years of age and older
- Adults 19 to 64 years of age who have not previously received a dose of Prevnar 13 and have a weak immune system, asplenia (the absence of normal spleen function), a cerebrospinal fluid leak or a cochlear implant
- Infants and children 6 weeks of age and older
What is the difference between Pneumovax 23 and Prevnar 13?
The main difference between the two is the range of bacteria that they can help protect against. Pneumovax 23 protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria, while Prevnar 13 protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria.
What are the most common side effects of Pneumovax 23 and Prevnar 13?
As with most vaccines, there are some side effects to pneumonia vaccines. For both Pneumovax 23 and Prevnar 13, side effects include injection site pain and swelling, headache, weakness, tiredness, muscle pain, joint pain, decreased appetite, vomiting, fever, chills and rash.
Be sure to talk with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time.
How are the vaccines administered?
Pneumovax 23 can be administered either subcutaneously or intramuscularly, while Prevnar 13 has to be administered intramuscularly.
Remember, pneumonia shots are different from flu shots in that the pneumonia vaccine is a one-time thing–you don’t have to get it yearly. The recommendations for who should get a pneumonia vaccination are based on risk factors and age, so be sure to talk to your doctor if you think you might need one. You should be able to receive both Pneumovax 23 and Prevnar 13 at your local pharmacy. Depending on which state you live in, these vaccines may not require a prescription. Be sure to reach out to your pharmacist for more information.
The CDC has more information about these vaccinations here. If you are still stuck on which vaccine is best for you, have a conversation with your doctor.
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