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.

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  • Pneumococcal vaccine is a sterile, liquid vaccine for intramuscular or subcutaneous injections only.
  • Pneumococcal vaccines are available in 5-dose vials.
  • They are also available as a pack of 10 single dose vials and 10 single-dose pre-filled syringes.
  • Each 0.5 ml dose contains 25 mcg polysaccharide of each pneumococcal type.

STORAGE: Pneumococcal vaccine should be refrigerated between 2 C to 8 C (36 F to 46 F).

DOSING: The recommended dose is 0.5 ml injected intramuscularly or subcutaneously. Routine revaccination is not recommended unless patients' previous vaccine history is unknown.

Pneumococcal vaccine (PCV 23) is not recommended for children under the age of 2.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Administration of pneumococcal vaccine is not recommended at the same time as zoster vaccine live (Zostavax). When they are given concurrently, pneumococcal vaccine reduces the response of zoster vaccine compared to those who received both vaccines 4 weeks apart.

Medications such as cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral) and tacrolimus (Prograf) that weaken the immune system should not be used with pneumococcal vaccine. Cyclosporine and tacrolimus reduce the effects of pneumococcal vaccine; therefore, such patients must be evaluated before recommending pneumococcal vaccine.

PREGNANCY: Safe and effective use of pneumococcal vaccine is not established for pregnant mothers.

NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known whether pneumococcal vaccine enters breast milk.

REFERENCE: CDC. Pneumococcal Vaccination.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2014
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