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Pneumovax 23 Side Effects

Generic Name: pneumococcal 23-polyvalent vaccine

Note: This document contains side effect information about pneumococcal 23-polyvalent vaccine. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Pneumovax 23.

For the Consumer

Applies to pneumococcal 23-polyvalent vaccine: injection injectable

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • Pain where the shot was given.
  • Redness or swelling where the shot is given.
  • Irritation where the shot is given.
  • Headache.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Muscle pain.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to pneumococcal 23-polyvalent vaccine: injectable solution


The most common adverse events were fever and injection site reactions.[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Pain/soreness/tenderness (77.2%), swelling/induration (39.8%), erythema (34.5%)
Common (1% to 10%): Pruritus, ecchymosis
Rare (less than 0.1%): Injection site cellulitis
Postmarketing reports: Warmth at injection site, decreased limb mobility, peripheral edema in injected extremity[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Headache (18.1%)
Frequency not reported: Cerebrovascular accident, lumbar radiculopathy
Postmarketing reports: Paresthesia, radiculoneuropathy, Guillain-Barre syndrome, febrile convulsion[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Asthenia/fatigue (17.9%)
Common (1% to 10%): Fever
Frequency not reported: Alcohol intoxication
Postmarketing reports: Malaise, increased C-reactive protein[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Myalgia (17.3%)
Common (1% to 10%): Chills, neck pain
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Back pain
Postmarketing reports: Arthralgia, arthritis[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Nausea, dyspepsia, diarrhea
Frequency not reported: Ulcerative colitis, pancreatitis
Postmarketing reports: Vomiting[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Upper respiratory infection, pharyngitis[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Anaphylactoid reactions, serum sickness, angioneurotic edema[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Lymphadenitis, lymphadenopathy, thrombocytopenia in patients with stabilized idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, hemolytic anemia in patients who have had other hematologic disorders, leukocytosis[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Cellulitis, rash, urticaria, cellulitis-like reactions, erythema multiforme[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Angina pectoris, heart failure, chest pain, myocardial infarction resulting in death[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Edema, diabetes[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Urinary retention[Ref]


1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

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

Some side effects of Pneumovax 23 may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

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.