Prevenar 13 is a vaccine, which is a type of medicine that helps to protect (immunise) people from certain infectious diseases. It does this by preparing the body’s defences to fight the infection, before you catch the bacteria or virus.
Prevenar 13 is a mixture of the outer sugar coating (polysaccharide) from 13 different strains or serotypes of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. Each serotype is joined to a non-toxic protein to make it work more effectively. Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria are one of the causes of
meningitis (a serious brain infection that could cause death or brain damage)
bacteraemia (infection of the blood)
otitis media (an ear infection that can cause pain and temporary hearing loss and may require you or your child to have an ear operation).
Prevenar 13 can protect against 13 of the strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae that can cause these diseases. Prevenar 13 does not replace the need for vaccination with Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) or meningococcal vaccines that protect against other important causes of meningitis.
You cannot catch any of the above diseases from the vaccine itself, because it is not made with live or whole bacteria.
As with all vaccines, 100% protection against the above diseases cannot be guaranteed.