An injected vaccine, Pneumovax helps prevent pneumonia, bacteremia, and other conditions caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. It is typically given as a single dose and is a routine vaccination for people over the age of 65. The vaccine works by "tricking" the body into thinking it has been exposed to the actual bacteria. Common side effects include reactions at the injection site, such as redness or pain.
What Is Pneumovax?
Pneumovax® (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine) is a vaccine used to prevent pneumococcal disease, a group of infections (such as pneumonia or bacteremia) caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. It is recommended as a routine vaccination for people age 65 and older, and in special situations for people age 2 and older.
(Click Pneumovax Uses for more information on what the vaccine is used for, including possible off-label indications.)
Thimerosal Content and Other Concerns
Pneumovax does not contain thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative). People who are concerned about exposure to this substance can be confident that this vaccine has no thimerosal -- not even trace amounts.
Some people also are concerned about the aluminum content of vaccines. This vaccine contains no aluminum. It is not made from animal components or human fetal cell lines, unlike some vaccines.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccine information statement: pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (10/6/09). CDC Web site. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-ppv.pdf. Accessed October 22, 2009.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed October 22, 2009.
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