Pneumococcal polyvalent vaccine (Injection)


Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent (NOO-moe-KOK-al VAX-een pol-ee-VAY-lent)

Prevents severe infections, such as pneumonia and meningitis.

Brand Name(s)

Pneumovax 23

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not receive this vaccine if you have had an allergic reaction to pneumococcal vaccine.

How to Use This Medicine


  • A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this vaccine. This vaccine is given as a shot into one of the muscles or under the skin, usually in the thigh or upper arm.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure the doctor knows if you are using any medicine that affects your immune system. This includes radiation treatment, steroid medicines, or cancer medicines.
  • You should not receive varicella virus vaccine (Zostavax®) at the same time that you are given pneumococcal vaccine. The vaccines should be given 4 weeks apart.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure the doctor knows if you are currently ill. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Tell your doctor if you have heart disease, blood vessel disease, or lung disease
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have a weak immune system. You may not be fully protected by this vaccine.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any problems with spinal fluid leaking, which could be caused by a birth defect, previous surgery, or a skull fracture. This vaccine may not prevent meningitis in people who have spinal fluid problems.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Unexplained high fever or chills

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Pain, itching, redness, swelling, tenderness, or a lump where the shot was given
  • Tiredness or weakness

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013

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