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pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPV), 23-valent (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving this vaccine (Pneumovax 23)?

You should not receive this vaccine if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine.

Before receiving this vaccine, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia, or easy bruising.

The timing and number of PPSV doses you receive will depend on whether you have any of these other conditions:

  • cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma;
  • HIV or AIDS;
  • sickle cell disease;
  • a kidney condition called nephrotic syndrome;
  • a history of organ or bone marrow transplant;
  • if you are receiving chemotherapy;
  • if you have been using steroid medication for a long period of time;
  • if you are scheduled to have your spleen removed (splenectomy); or
  • if you have received a pneumococcal vaccine within the past 3 to 5 years.

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a cold or fever. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving this vaccine.

Vaccines may be harmful to an unborn baby and generally should not be given to a pregnant woman. However, not vaccinating the mother could be more harmful to the baby if the mother becomes infected with a disease that this vaccine could prevent. Your doctor will decide whether you should receive this vaccine, especially if you have a high risk of infection with pneumococcal disease.

It is not known whether PPSV passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is this vaccine given (Pneumovax 23)?

PPSV is given as an injection (shot) under the skin or into a muscle of your arm or thigh. You will receive this injection in a doctor's office or other clinic setting.

PPSV is usually given as a routine vaccination in adults who are 65 years and older.

PPSV may also be given to people between the ages 2 and 64 years old who have:

  • heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes;
  • a cerebrospinal fluid leak, or a cochlear implant (an electronic hearing device);
  • alcoholism or liver disease (including cirrhosis);
  • sickle cell disease or a disorder of the spleen;
  • a weak immune system caused by HIV, AIDS, cancer, kidney failure, organ transplantation, or a damaged spleen; or
  • a weak immune system caused by taking steroids or receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

PPSV may also be given to people between the ages 19 and 64 years old who smoke or have asthma.

PPSV should be given at least 2 weeks before the start of any treatment that can weaken your immune system. PPSV is also given at least 2 weeks before you undergo a splenectomy (surgical removal of the spleen).

The timing of this vaccination is very important for it to be effective. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Your doctor may recommend treating fever and pain with an aspirin-free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, and others) when the shot is given and for the next 24 hours. Follow the label directions or your doctor's instructions about how much of this medicine to take.

If your doctor has prescribed an antibiotic (such as penicillin) to help prevent infection with pneumococcal bacteria, do not stop using the antibiotic after you receive the PPSV. Take the antibiotic for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor.

Most people receive only one PPSV shot during their lifetime. However, people in certain age groups or with certain disease conditions that put them at risk of infection may need to receive more than one vaccine. Before receiving this vaccine, tell your doctor if you have received a pneumococcal vaccine within the past 3 to 5 years.

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