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Preventing Diseases with Vaccines


Pediatric vaccines are important tools in the fight to prevent and eradicate disease. Because of this, parents should follow federal childhood immunization schedules. For more information, contact the National Immunization Hotline at 800-232-2522, e-mail your questions to, or click here.


Yearly flu shots can help Americans prevent many of the complications caused by influenza viruses. Click here for more information.


  • Pneumococcal disease (including pneumonia) is a bacterial infection that can be life-threatening and can cause:
    • Lung infections, such as pneumonia, or
    • Invasive infections such as bacteremia (bacteria in the blood) and meningitis (infection of the brain lining).
  • Approximately 40,000 people die annually in the United States from pneumococcal disease. About half of these deaths could be prevented through the use of pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Americans at highest risk-seniors age 65 and older and people with long-term illnesses, such as heart, lung, kidney, or liver disease, diabetes, or cancer-should receive the vaccine.
  • Pneumococcal vaccine is typically a one-dose treatment and can be given any time of the year. A second dose of the vaccine is sometimes required.
  • If you are currently age 65 or older and received your first pneumococcal vaccine five or more years ago (and were younger than 65 at that time), ask your health-care provider if you should be vaccinated again.
  • Ask your hospital or health-system pharmacist if you have any questions about this or other medicines.

Material prepared with support from Merck Vaccine Division