Drug information of Pneumovax


Drug group: Vaccines

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV)—the latest version is known as Pneumovax 23 (PPV-23)—is the first pneumococcal vaccine derived from a capsular polysaccharide, and an important landmark in medical history.

The polysaccharide antigens were used to induce type-specific antibodies that enhanced opsonization, phagocytosis, and killing of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcal) bacteria by phagocytic immune cells.

The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is widely used in high-risk adults. As a result, there have been important reductions in the incidence, morbidity, and mortality from invasive pneumococcal disease.

Mechanism of effect

  1. pneumoniae capsular antigens stimulate active immune response resulting in production of endogenously produced antibodies

The 23 serotypes contained in the vaccine include: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6B, 7F, 8, 9N, 9V, 10A, 11A, 12F, 14, 15B, 17F, 18C, 19F, 19A, 20, 22F, 23F, and 33F

Pneumococcal vaccine belongs to the class of medications called vaccines. It is used for the prevention of pneumonia caused by the 23 different types of pneumococci bacteria that are contained in the vaccine. Pneumococcal bacteria can cause many diseases ranging from pneumonia (lung infection) and meningitis (brain infection) to severe infections of the blood.

The pneumococcal vaccine increases your defenses against infection with pneumococcal bacteria by introducing very small amounts of bacterial components (not live bacteria) into the bloodstream.

These components of bacteria are enough to stimulate the production of your own antibodies (cells designed to attack that particular bacteria), which will remain in the body ready to attack any future bacteria that may cause infection.


Pneumonia prophylaxis: Promotes active immunity against the 23 most prevalent pneumococcal types.


Absorbtion :

 Protective antibodies produced within 3 weeks after injection. Duration of vaccine-induced immunity at least 5 years in adults.

Onset :2-3 wk

Duration: 5 yr

Metabolism : No information available.

Eliminamtion : No information available.

Distribution : No information available


  • adult:

vaccine : 0.5mL (1 dose)

Pneumococcal Disease Prevention:

Indicated for active immunization for the prevention of pneumococcal disease caused by the 23 serotypes contained in the vaccine : 0.5 mL SC/IM

ACIP Guidelines, Routine Immunization for Immunocompetent Adults

All patients ≥65 years: ACIP recommends routine vaccination with both PPSV23 (23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine) and PCV13 (13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine)

Pneumococcal vaccine-naïve:

Administer PCV13 first, and then PPSV23 ≥1 yr later

ACIP Guidelines, Immunocompromising Conditions   

PCV13 recommended in addition to PPSV23 for adults ≥19 yr with immunocompromising conditions (including chronic renal failure and nephrotic syndrome), functional or anatomic asplenia, cerebrospinal fluid leaks, or cochlear implants who have not previously received PCV13 or PPSV23

Note: minimum interval between PCV13 and PPSV23 is 8 wk for immunocompromised adults

  • Pediatric:

vaccine : 0.5mL (1 dose)

Pneumococcal Disease Prevention

Indicated for children with high risk conditions including chronic heart or lung disease, diabetes mellitus, cerebrospinal fluid leaks, cochlear implants, anatomic or functional asplenia (including sickle cell disease), or immunocompromised conditions

Do not confuse with routine childhood pneumococcal vaccine PCV13

<2 years: Safety and efficacy not established

≥2 years: 0.5 mL SC/IM for high risk conditions (plus PCV13)

All recommended PCV13 doses should be administered prior to PPSV23 vaccination if possible

Side effects

Headache , nausea , vomiting , myalgia


Do not use the pneumococcal vaccine if you:

  • are allergic to any ingredient of the vaccine
  • have an acute, severe illness with fever
  • CDC now recommends second dose after 5 years for pts with chronic renal failure, asplenia, HIV infection, cancer, or other conditions associated w/immunosuppression
  • Splenectomy: administer at least 2 wk before scheduled procedure

Points of recommendation

  • Heart and lung disease: If you have severely compromised heart and lung function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
  • Immunization record: Make sure any new doctors know that you have had this vaccination so that they can put this information in your immunization record.
  • Infection and fever: If you have an infection or fever, your doctor may recommend that you wait until you are better before receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Vaccine protection: As with any vaccine, this vaccine may not protect 100% of the people who receive it.
  • Pregnancy: This vaccine should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant around the time you are scheduled to have this vaccine, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Breast-feeding: It is not known if this vaccine passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and have this vaccine, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
  • Children: This vaccine is not recommended for children under 2 years of age.

Pregnancy level


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