Many of our cochlear implant patients, particularly those aged over 65, have been vaccinated against the pneumonia bacteria using a Pneumococcal vaccine such as Pneumovax23. Patients with a cochlear implant are deemed to be at increased risk of infection with the pneumococcus bacteria and we now advise all patients with a cochlear implant to be adequately vaccinated. There are two types of vaccine for pneumococcus. These are pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine 23vPPV, (Pneumovax23) and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 13vPCV, (Prevenar13). They work in different ways and give different types of protection.

Please note we are not aware of any of our adult cochlear implant recipients developing invasive pneumococcal disease over the last 30 years. However, the current recommendation in the Australian Immunisation Handbook 2017 is for patients with a cochlear implant to receive both the Pneumovax23 vaccination and the Prevenar13 vaccine in accordance with the protocols outlined below.


Patients who are considering a cochlear implant should receive the first vaccination prior to surgery. Patients who already have a cochlear implant should check their vaccination status with their GP and ensure they meet the recommended standard. Unfortunately, vaccination is not funded by the National Immunisation Programme for most people under the age of 65.

Australian Recommended Protocol for Pneumococcal Vaccination - PDF


  • The minimum interval between doses of Pneumovax 23 is 5 years with a maximum of 3 doses per adult lifetime.
  • It is necessary to wait 2 months between a dose of Prevenar13 and a dose of Pneumovax23.
  • It is necessary to wait 12 months between a dose of Pneumovax23 and a dose of Prevenar13.

The vaccination protocol is complex. For further clarification you should consult your GP. Your ENT surgeon would be pleased to discuss the protocol with your GP.