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Pneumovax Vaccination

Pneumovax® (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine) helps prevent pneumonia, bacteremia, and other conditions caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. It is approved for individuals age 2 and older; however, routine use of this vaccination is recommended only for individuals over the age of 65. Pneumovax is typically given as a single vaccination. In some high-risk individuals, a second dose may be recommended five years after the first.
This vaccine contains polysaccharide (sugar) molecules from the outside coating of the S. pneumoniae bacteria. It works by "tricking" the body into thinking it has been exposed to the actual bacteria, but without the risks of a real infection.
Possible side effects include low-grade fever and swelling, pain, or redness at the injection site. However, most people tolerate the vaccine well. Serious side effects are even less common.
(To learn more about this vaccination, click Pneumovax. This article offers a comprehensive overview of this product and its uses, additional side effects, drug warnings, and more.)
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