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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Pneumovax 23

Generic Name: pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPSV), 23-valent (Pronunciation: NOO moe KOK al POL ee SAK a rides, 23-VAY lent)

What is pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPSV) (Pneumovax 23)?

Pneumococcal disease is a serious infection caused by a bacteria. Pneumococcal bacteria can infect the sinuses and inner ear. It can also infect the lungs, blood, and brain and these conditions can be fatal.

Pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPSV) is used to prevent infection caused by pneumococcal bacteria. PPSV contains 23 of the most common types of pneumococcal bacteria.

PPSV works by exposing you to a small dose of the bacteria or a protein from the bacteria, which causes your body to develop immunity to the disease. PPSV will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

PPSV is for use only in adults and children who are at least 2 years old. For children younger than 2 years old, another vaccine called Prevnar (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine [PCV] 7-valent) is used, usually given between the ages of 2 months and 15 months.

Like any vaccine, PPSV may not provide protection from disease in every person.

What are the possible side effects of this vaccine (Pneumovax 23)?

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. If you ever need to receive a booster dose, you will need to tell your doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with pneumococcal disease (such as pneumonia or meningitis) is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • high fever (103 degrees or higher);
  • easy bruising or bleeding;
  • swollen glands with skin rash or itching, joint pain, and general ill feeling;
  • pale or yellowed skin, dark colored urine, confusion or weakness;
  • numbness or tingly feeling in your feet and spreading upward, severe lower back pain;
  • changes in behavior, problems with vision, speech, swallowing, or bladder and bowel functions; or
  • slow heart rate, trouble breathing, feeling like you might pass out.

Less serious side effects are more likely to occur, such as:

  • low fever (102 degrees or less), chills, tired feeling;
  • swelling, pain, tenderness, or redness anywhere on your body;
  • headache, nausea, vomiting;
  • joint or muscle pain;
  • swelling or stiffness in the arm or leg the vaccine was injected into;
  • mild skin rash; or
  • mild soreness, warmth, redness, swelling, or a hard lump where the shot was given.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

What is the most important information I should know about this vaccine (Pneumovax 23)?

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.

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.

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. If you ever need to receive a booster dose, you will need to tell your doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with pneumococcal disease (such as pneumonia or meningitis) is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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