pneumococcal vaccine (Pneumovax 23, Pnu-Imune 23)

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GENERIC NAME: pneumococcal polyvalent vaccine

BRAND NAME: Pneumovax 23, Pnu-Imune 23

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Pneumococcal vaccine is used for prevention of pneumonia. This pneumococcal vaccine contains chemicals (polysaccharides) extracted from 23 types of Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria. Upon injecting pneumococcal vaccine, our body recognizes these chemical as foreign and produces antibodies to destroy the chemicals. Antibodies are blood protein that help the body fight infection and destroy other harmful substances. Once produced, these antibodies destroy injected Streptococcus pneumonia chemicals. However, the antibodies remain active in the body and can detect the same chemicals from live Streptococcus pneumonia in the future. If a vaccinated person comes in contact with Streptococcus pneumonia the antibodies will destroy the bacteria and prevent pneumonia or reduce its severity. The FDA approved pneumococcal vaccine polyvalent in June 1983.

This vaccine should not be confused with pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) used in special conditions (children <5 years old, for example) because often in the medical literature the non-specific term "pneumococcal vaccine" is used.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2014

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