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Pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPSV), 23-valent

Generic name: pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPSV), 23-valent [ NOO-moe-KOK-al-POL-ee-SAK-a-rides, 23-VAY-lent ]
Brand name: Pneumovax 23
Dosage form: injectable solution (-)
Drug class: Bacterial vaccines

Medically reviewed by on Oct 12, 2021. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPSV)?

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

Pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPSV) is used to help prevent disease caused by pneumococcal bacteria. This vaccine contains 23 different types of pneumococcal bacteria.

PPSV is for use in adults 50 years and older, and in people at least 2 years old who have an increased risk of developing pneumococcal disease due to certain medical conditions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends this vaccine in adults 65 years and older even if they had a pneumococcal vaccine before the age of 65.

This vaccine helps your body develop immunity to the disease, but will not treat an active infection you already have.

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


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

Before taking this medicine

You should not receive this vaccine if you ever had a severe allergic reaction to a pneumococcal vaccine.

Tell the vaccination provider if you or the child has:

  • heart problems;

  • a breathing disorder;

  • a weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicine); or

  • if you are receiving radiation or chemotherapy.

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a minor cold. 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.

Tell the vaccination provider if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How is this vaccine given?

This vaccine is given as an injection (shot) into a muscle or under the skin.

PPSV is usually given as 1 shot. You may need another shot if you are at high risk of infection with pneumococcal bacteria.

Keep taking any antibiotic your doctor has prescribed to help protect you against pneumococcal disease.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since PPSV is usually given only one time, you will most likely not be on a dosing schedule.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of this vaccine is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid after receiving this vaccine?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

This vaccine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

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

Keep track of all side effects you have. If you need a booster dose, you will need to tell the vaccination provider if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with pneumococcal disease is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is low.

Pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPSV), 23-valent may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • wheezing, trouble breathing;

  • chest pain;

  • severe stomach pain, severe vomiting or diarrhea;

  • tremors, muscle stiffness; or

  • painful or difficult urination.

Common side effects of pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPSV), 23-valent may include:

  • pain, warmth, swelling, redness, or a hard lump where a shot was given;

  • muscle pain;

  • headache; or

  • feeling weak or tired.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

Pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPSV), 23-valent dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Pneumococcal Disease Prophylaxis:

0.5 mL, IM or subcutaneously, once

-For use in patients 50 years or older, or in younger patients at increased risk of pneumococcal disease

Usual Pediatric Dose for Pneumococcal Disease Prophylaxis:

2 years and older at increased risk of pneumococcal disease:
0.5 mL, IM or subcutaneously, once

What other drugs will affect pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPSV)?

Before receiving this vaccine, tell your vaccination provider about all other vaccines you have recently received, especially a zoster (shingles) vaccine.

Also tell the vaccination provider if you have recently received drugs or treatments that can weaken the immune system, including:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect PPSV, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

  • Your vaccination provider, pharmacist, or doctor can provide more information about this vaccine. Additional information is available from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.