Pneumococcal bacteria mostly affect those with the least defences commonly infants and children less than 5 years of age.The bacteria can cause life threatening infections like pneumonia(lung infection) and meningitis (brain infection) and milder infections like ear infection, tonsillitis and sore throat.
All the available pneumococcal vaccines protect vaccinated children against severe forms of pneumococcal disease. Some of them have a wider coverage and protect against milder infection like ear infection. However the protection provided is not absolute i.e. efficacy of vaccine is 80-85% after 3 doses.
Recommended dosage schedule –
<6 months – 3 doses and booster at 18 months
>6 months -2 doses and booster at 18 months
The vaccine is quite safe but rarely can cause minor side affects – fever and swelling . There is also a possibility of an allergic reaction.
This is something that your pediatrician will work out and be prepared for.
Ideally, the first shot of the vaccine is given around the age of six months, so it’s advisable to consult with your doctor about a proposed vaccine schedule after birth itself.