pneumococcal vaccine (Pneumovax 23, Pnu-Imune 23) (cont.)

Pharmacy Author:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

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.


Common side effects of pneumococcal vaccine are:

  • Injection site pain
  • Redness
  • Soreness
  • Tenderness

Other side effects include:

Severe allergic reactions may occur.




  • 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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