pneumococcal vaccine (Pneumovax 23, Pnu-Imune 23)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Take the Pneumonia Quiz

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.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Pneumococcal vaccine is used for individuals 50 years of age or older and children 2 years of age or older who are at increased risk for pneumococcal disease and have no complicating medical problems.

SIDE EFFECTS:

Common side effects of pneumococcal vaccine are:

  • Injection site pain
  • Redness
  • Soreness
  • Tenderness

Other side effects include:

Severe allergic reactions may occur.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2014
Pneumonia Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
FDA Logo

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.

RxList Logo

Need help identifying pills and medications?

Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors