The CDC recommends vaccination with Pneumovax 23 alone for everyone at or after age 65 and for people age 19 through 64 who are at increased risk for pneumococcal infection. People in the latter group can receive more than one dose of the vaccine. However, once you have received a dose of Pneumovax 23 at or after age 65—whether it is your initial dose or a subsequent dose—there is no need for an additional dose of it.

The new ACIP proposal recommends vaccination with both Pneumovax 23 and Prevnar 13 for all adults, regardless of age, who are considered to be at greatly increased risk of infection. According to ACIP, the combination regimen is likely to provide greater protection against S. pneumoniae than either vaccine alone.

The dosing schedule that follows is recommended for people at greatly increased risk. Again, once you've received a dose of Pneumovax 23 at or after age 65, there is no need for more doses. If you have not previously received Prevnar 13 or Pneumovax 23 and are at greatly increased risk, ACIP recommends:

  • a dose of Prevnar 13
  • a dose of Pneumovax 23 after at least eight weeks have passed
  • a second dose of Pneumovax 23 after at least five years have passed

If you have previously received one dose of Pneumovax 23, ACIP recommends:

  • a dose of Prevnar 13 no sooner than one year after the Pneumovax 23 dose
  • a second dose of Pneumovax 23 no sooner than five years after the initial Pneumovax 23 dose and after allowing at least eight weeks to pass following the Prevnar 13 dose

If you have previously received two doses of Pneumovax 23, ACIP recommends:

  • a dose of Prevnar 13 after at least one year has passed.
  • a third dose of Pneumovax 23 after at least five years have passed since your previous dose of Pneumovax 23 and eight weeks since your Prevnar 13 dose

If you received three doses of Pneumovax 23 (the third dose would have been given at or after age 65), ACIP recommends:

  • a dose of Prevnar 13 after at least one year has passed since the last dose of Pneumovax 23

If you don't remember

Although there are concerns about risks associated with re-vaccinating too soon, ACIP recommends getting vaccinated if you don't have any record of previous pneumococcal vaccination.

Publication Review By: Peter B. Terry, M.D., M.A.

Published: 08 Aug 2013

Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013