Pneumococcal infection is typically a mild illness (ear infection) to children under 5, only occasionally expressed in more dangerous forms such as pneumonia or invasive pneumococcal meningitis. The PCV-7 vaccine (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine) was licensed in 2001 to target 7 pneumococcus serotypes, and the PCV-13 (targeting 13 serotypes) was licensed in 2010. The risk of death to children under 5 has not changed due to the PCV vaccine, but permanent injuries and hospitalizations have decreased in the post-vaccine era. Although the PCV-7 vaccine has reduced infections from the targeted serotypes, it appears that disease from replacement serotypes and competing bacteria (e.g. staph) have increased to counter-balance much of that reduction (see Disease Risk – Pneumococcal disease).
For more on how the PCV-7 vaccine has caused other disease-causing pneumococcal serotypes to proliferate, see Rapid Pneumococcal Evolution in Response to Clinical Interventions and With Sleight of Hand, Pneumonia Bacterium Dodges Vaccines.
The PCV vaccine is currently recommended for four doses at 2, 4, 6, and 12-15 months. The PCV vaccine contains aluminum adjuvant, a known neurotoxin (see Does Aluminum cause vaccine-injury?).
Given the low risk from this disease, the potential for the vaccine to cause other disease-causing pneumococcal serotypes and bacteria (e.g. staph) to proliferate, and the potential vaccine-injury concern, a parent in the USA might consider whether this vaccine’s benefits are worth its risks.