Pneumococcal Vaccine


Pneumococcal Polysaccharides Vaccine (PPV), 23-valent

What is pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPV)?

Pneumococcal disease is a serious infection caused by a bacteria. Pneumococcal bacteria can infect the sinuses and inner ear. It can also infect the lungs blood, and brain and these conditions can be fatal.

Pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPV) is used to prevent infection caused by pneumococcal bacteria. PPV contains 23 of the most common types of pneumococcal bacteria.

PPV works by exposing you to a small dose of the bacteria or a protein from the bacteria, which causes your body to develop immunity to the disease. PPV will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

PPV is for use only in adults and children who are at least 2 years old. For children younger than 2 years old, another vaccine called Prevnar (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine [PCV] 7-valent) is used, usually given between the ages of 2 months and 15 months.

Becoming infected with pneumococcal disease (such as pneumonia or meningitis) is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Like any vaccine, PPV may not provide protection from disease in every person.

What is the most important information I should know about this vaccine?

PPV should be given at least 2 weeks before the start of any treatment that can weaken your  immune system PPV is also given at least 2 weeks before you undergo a splenectomy (surgical removal of the spleen).

The timing of this vaccination is very important for it to be effective. Follow your doctor's instructions.

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a cold or fever. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving this vaccine.

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. If you ever have to receive another pneumococcal vaccine in the future, you will need to tell the doctor if the first shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with pneumococcal disease (such as pnemonia or meningitis) is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving this vaccine?

You should not receive this vaccine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a pneumococcal vaccine, or if you have received cancer chemotherapy or radiation treatment in the past 3 months.

Before receiving PPV, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia or easy bruising;

  • Hodgkin's disease;

  • severe heart disease or breathing problems;

  • a weak immune system caused by disease or by using certain medicines or receiving cancer treatments;

  • a history of organ or bone marrow transplant;

  • if you are receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatments;

  • if you are scheduled to have your spleen removed (splenectomy); or

  • if you have received a pneumococcal vaccine within the past 3 to 5 years.

The timing of when you receive this vaccine will depend on whether any of these conditions affects you.

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a cold or fever. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving this vaccine.

Vaccines may be harmful to an unborn baby and generally should not be given to a pregnant woman. However, not vaccinating the mother could be more harmful to the baby if the mother becomes infected with a disease that this vaccine could prevent. Your doctor will decide whether you should receive this vaccine, especially if you have a high risk of infection with pneumococcal disease. It is not known whether PPV passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is this vaccine given?

PPV is given as an injection (shot) under the skin or into a muscle of your arm or thigh. You will receive this injection in a doctor's office or other clinic setting.

PPV is usually given in the following situations:

  • as a routine vaccination in people who are 50 years and older;

  • in people with heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, or a cerebrospinal fluid leak;

  • in people with alcoholism or liver disease (including cirrhosis);

  • in people with sickle cell disease or a disorder of the spleen;

  • in people who live among certain populations where pneumococcal disease may be more common; and

  • in people with weak immune systems caused by HIV, cancer, kidney failure, organ transplantation, or chemotherapy.

PPV should be given at least 2 weeks before the start of any treatment that can weaken your immune system. PPV is also given at least 2 weeks before you undergo a splenectomy (surgical removal of the spleen).

The timing of this vaccination is very important for it to be effective. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Your doctor may recommend treating fever and pain with an aspirin-free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, and others) when the shot is given and for the next 24 hours. Follow the label directions or your doctor's instructions about how much of this medicine to take.

If your doctor has prescribed an antibiotic (such as penicillin) to help prevent infection with pneumococcal bacteria, do not stop using the antibiotic after you receive the PPV. Take the antibiotic for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor.

Most people receive only one PPV shot during their lifetime. However, people in certain age groups or with certain disease conditions that put them at risk of infection may need to receive more than one vaccine. Before receiving this vaccine, tell your doctor if you have received a pneumococcal vaccine within the past 3 to 5 years.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since PPV is usually given only one time, you will most likely not be on a dosing schedule. If you are receiving a repeat PPV shot, be sure to tell your doctor if it has been less than 5 years since you last received a pneumococcal vaccine.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of this vaccine not likely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after receiving this vaccine ?

There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activity before or after receiving this vaccine unless your doctor has told you otherwise.

This vaccine side effects

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. If you ever have to receive another pneumococcal vaccine in the future, you will need to tell the doctor if the first shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with pneumococcal disease (such as pneumonia or meningitis) is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • high fever (103 degrees or higher);

  • easy bruising or bleeding; or

  • severe pain, itching, irritation, or skin changes where the shot was given.

Less serious side effects are more likely to occur, such as:

  • mild soreness, warmth, redness, swelling, or a hard lump where the shot was given;

  • weakness, tired feeling;

  • joint or muscle pain;

  • headache, numbness or tingling;

  • low fever (102 degrees or less), chills;

  • nausea, vomiting; or

  • mild skin rash.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.




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