Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine

Name: Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine

What is Pneumococcal disease?

Vaccination can protect older adults (and some children and younger adults) from pneumococcal disease.

Pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria that can spread from person to person through close contact. It can cause ear infections, and it can also lead to more serious infections of the

  • Lungs (pneumonia),
  • Blood (bacteremia), and
  • Covering of the brain (meningitis). Meningitis can cause deafness and brain damage, and it can be fatal.

Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but children under 2 years of age, people with certain medical conditions, adults over 65 years of age, and cigarette smokers are at the highest risk.

About 18,000 older adults die each year from pneumococcal disease in the United States.

Treatment of pneumococcal infections with penicillin and other drugs used to be more effective. But some strains of the disease have become resistant to these drugs. This makes prevention of the disease, through vaccination, even more important.

Who should not get PPSV or should wait?

  • Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to PPSV should not get another dose.
  • Anyone who has a severe allergy to any component of PPSV should not receive it. Tell your provider if you have any severe allergies.
  • Anyone who is moderately or severely ill when the shot is scheduled may be asked to wait until they recover before getting the vaccine. Someone with a mild illness can usually be vaccinated.
  • Children less than 2 years of age should not receive this vaccine.
  • There is no evidence that PPSV is harmful to either a pregnant woman or to her fetus. However, as a precaution, women who need the vaccine should be vaccinated before becoming pregnant, if possible.

What if there is a severe reaction?

  • Look for anything that concerns you, such as signs of a severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or unusual behavior.
  • Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would usually start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.

What should I do?

If you think it is a severe allergic reaction or other emergency that can't wait, get the person to the nearest hospital or call 9-1-1. Otherwise, call your doctor.

Afterward, the reaction should be reported to the ''Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System'' (VAERS). Your doctor should file this report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS web site at http://www.vaers.hhs.gov, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.

VAERS does not give medical advice.

Brand names

  • Pneumovax┬« 23

Other names

  • PPV23
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