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Pneumovax Uses

How Does Pneumovax Work?

This vaccine contains polysaccharide (sugar) molecules from the outside coating of the S. pneumoniae bacteria. Simply stated, this vaccine "tricks" the body into thinking it has been exposed to the actual bacteria, but without the risks of a real infection. If future exposure to the bacteria occurs, the immune system "remembers" the bacteria and is better able to fight it off.
Pneumovax is different from the pneumococcal vaccine that is used in infants (Prevnar®, Prevnar 13®). Pneumovax contains antigens from 23 different types of S. pneumoniae, while the infant vaccine contains antigens from only 7 types (Prevnar) or 13 types (Prevnar 13). Also, the polysaccharides in the infant vaccines are bound, or "conjugated," to a nontoxic diphtheria protein; this change produces a much better immune response in young children.

Off-Label Pneumovax Uses

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend this vaccine for something other than the uses discussed in this article (this would be known as an "off-label" use). Giving Pneumovax to any children under the age of two or to people who do not fit into the recommended categories would be considered off-label uses for Pneumovax.
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Pneumovax Vaccine Information

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