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Pneumovax Patient Information Including Side Effects

Brand Names: Pneumovax 23, Pnu-Imune 23

Generic Name: pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV adult, 23-valent) (Pronunciation: new moe CAW cull pah lee SAH cah ride)

What is pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumovax)?

Pneumococcal disease is a serious disease caused by a bacteria. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) exposes the individual to a small dose of the bacteria (or a protein from the bacteria) and causes the body to develop immunity to the disease.

Pneumococcal infection can cause ear infection, sinus infection, pneumonia, blood infection (bacteremia), and meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain). About 1 out of every 20 people who get pneumococcal pneumonia dies from it, as do about 2 out of every 10 who get bacteremia, and 3 out of 10 who get meningitis. Pneumococcal disease kills more people in the United States every year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined.

PPV (adult, 23-valent) is recommended for: all adults 65 years of age and older; anyone over 2 years of age who has long-term health problems such as sickle cell disease; heart disease; lung disease; alcoholism; diabetes; cirrhosis; or leaks of cerebrospinal fluid; anyone over 2 years of age who has a condition that lowers the body's resistance to infection such as: Hodgkin's disease, lymphoma, leukemia, kidney failure, multiple myeloma, nephrotic syndrome, damaged spleen or no spleen, or organ transplant; anyone over 2 years of age who is taking any drug or treatment that lowers the body's resistance to infection such as long-term steroids, radiation therapy, and certain cancer drugs; and all Alaskan natives and certain Native American populations.

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine can help prevent the disease. Many more people would get the disease if vaccination did not occur.

What are the possible side effects of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumovax)?

Getting pneumococcal disease is much riskier than getting pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. However, a vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

Seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately if any of the following rare but serious side effects from pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine are experienced:

  • a serious allergic reaction including swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; hives; paleness; weakness; dizziness; or a fast heart beat within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot; or
  • high fever; or
  • behavior changes.

About half of those who get PPV have very mild side effects, such as redness or pain where the shot is given. Less and 1% develop fever, muscle aches, or more severe local reactions.

Your doctor may recommend reducing fever or pain that may occur by taking an aspirin-free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra, others) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, others) when the shot is given and for the next 24 hours. Your healthcare provider can tell you the appropriate dosages of these medications.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Contact your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

Read the Pneumovax (pneumococcal vaccine polyvalent) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects

What is the most important information I should know about pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumovax)?

People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. Those who are moderately or severely ill or have a fever should usually wait until they recover before getting pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.

Side Effects Centers

Pneumovax - User Reviews

Pneumovax User Reviews

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