Education Materials

Mount Sinai Hospital is a University of Toronto patient care, teaching, and research centre.
Mount Sinai Hospital is a University of Toronto patient care, teaching, and research centre.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ: Pneumococcal Vaccine

Information provided by
Ellie Goldenberg, MPH,
Research Associate,
Toronto Bacterial Diseases Network

» Who should receive the pneumococcal vaccine?

People considered to be at higher risk for pneumococcal disease are advised to receive the pneumococcal vaccine. These are the higher risk groups for whom vaccine is recommended in Canada (See NACI guidlines)

  • Persons over 65 years of age.
  • Persons 18 years old or older who have certain underlying medical conditions. These medical conditions include:
      - No spleen or splenetic dysfunction
      - Sickle cell disease
      - Cirrhosis
      - Alcoholism
      - Chronic kidney disease/ failure
      - Diabetes
      - Chronic cerebrospinal fluid leak
      - HIV infection
      - Hodgkin's disease
      - Lymphoma
      - Multiple myeloma
      - Organ transplant
      - Other immunosuppressive conditions
  • Children 2 years and older who have particular medical conditions are also advised to be vaccinated. The medical conditions include:
      - Splenetic dysfunction or no spleen
      - Sickle cell disease
      - Kidney disease/ failure
      - Chronic cerebrospinal fluid leak
      - HIV infection
      - Other immunosuppressive conditions

    Pneumococcal vaccination is not recommended for children under 2 years of age, as they do not respond satisfactorily. The vaccine is not recommended for the prevention of inner ear infections.

» Where can you get the vaccine?

You should ask your family doctor if you fit into one of these risk groups. The vaccine is usually available through your family doctor.

» What is the cost of getting the pneumococcal vaccine?

The costs of vaccine may vary depending on public health policy in your individual location. In Ontario, Canada, pneumococcal vaccine is available free of charge to persons in these higher risk groups. The vaccine is provided through the provincial Ministry of Health and is distributed to individual family doctors for vaccination of their high risk patients.

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