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Pneumovax 23 Side Effects

Generic Name: pneumococcal 23-polyvalent vaccine

Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug pneumococcal 23-polyvalent vaccine. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Pneumovax 23.

It is possible that some side effects of Pneumovax 23 may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

For the Consumer

Applies to pneumococcal 23-polyvalent vaccine: solution

As well as its needed effects, pneumococcal 23-polyvalent vaccine (the active ingredient contained in Pneumovax 23) may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

If any of the following side effects occur while taking pneumococcal 23-polyvalent vaccine, check with your doctor or nurse immediately:

More common
  • Chills
Less common
  • Body aches or pain
  • cough
  • difficulty with breathing
  • ear congestion
  • fever
  • headache
  • loss of voice
  • nasal congestion
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Fever over 102.2 °F (39 °C)
Incidence not known
  • Black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet blood in the urine or stools
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • decreased movement of the legs
  • difficulty with breathing or swallowing
  • dizziness
  • eye pain
  • fast heartbeat
  • feeling of discomfort
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • headache
  • hives
  • inflammation of the joints
  • itching, especially of the feet or hands
  • itching, pain, redness, swelling, tenderness, or warmth on the skin
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • muscle aches
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • rapid weight gain
  • rash
  • shortness of breath
  • swollen lymph glands
  • swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
  • tightness in the chest
  • tingling of the hands or feet
  • reddening of the skin, especially around the ears
  • swelling of the eyes, face, or inside of the nose
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness (sudden and severe)
  • unusual weight gain or loss
  • wheezing

Some pneumococcal 23-polyvalent vaccine side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

More common
  • Difficulty with moving
  • lack or loss of strength
  • muscle aching or cramping
  • muscle pains or stiffness
  • redness, soreness, hard lump, swelling, tenderness, or pain at the injection site
  • swollen joints
Less common or rare
  • Aches or pain in the joints or muscles
  • fever of 101 °F (38.3 °C) or less
  • swollen glands
  • vague feeling of bodily discomfort

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to pneumococcal 23-polyvalent vaccine: injectable solution


Hypersensitivity side effects have included anaphylactoid reactions, serum sickness, and angioneurotic edema.[Ref]


Hematologic side effects have included lymphadenitis, thrombocytopenia in patient with stabilized idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, and hemolytic anemia in patients who have had other hematologic disorders.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal side effects have included arthralgia, arthritis, and myalgia.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included headache, paresthesia, radiculoneuropathy, and Guillain-Barre syndrome.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea and vomiting.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects have included rash and urticaria.[Ref]


Local side effects have included soreness, warmth, erythema, swelling, and induration.[Ref]


General side effects have included cellulitis, asthenia, malaise, and fever.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Pneumovax 23 (pneumococcal vaccine, polyvalent)." Merck & Co, Inc, West Point, PA.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.