Pneumovax 23

a vaccine that protects you from pneumonia and meningitis. It is recommended in those 50 years and older.

Pneumovax 23 Overview

Reviewed: July 31, 2015

Pneumovax 23 is a vaccine that is given as a shot. It helps protect you from infection by certain germs or bacteria which are called pneumococcus and can cause pneumonia and meningitis.

Most often Penumovax 23 is just given as one shot and is injected into the muscle or under the skin by a healthcare provider. 

Common side effects are pain, warmth, soreness, redness, swelling, and hardening at the injection site. 

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Uses of Pneumovax 23

Pneumovax 23 is a vaccine that is given as a shot to help protect you from pneumococcal disease caused by the 23 serotypes.

Pneumovax 23 is for people 50 years of age and older. It is also for people who are 2 years of age and older if they have certain medical conditions that put them at increased risk for infection.


Pneumovax 23 Drug Class

Pneumovax 23 is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Pneumovax 23

The most common side effects include:

  • pain, warmth, soreness, redness, swelling, and hardening at the injection site
  • headache
  • weakness, feeling tired
  • muscle pain

Side effects at the site where you get the shot may be more common and may feel worse after a second shot than after the first shot.

Tell your health care provider if you or your child has a side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

For a more complete list of side effects, ask your health care provider.

You may also report any side effect to your or your child's health care provider, or directly to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). You may call the VAERS number 1-800-822-7967 at no charge, or report online to

Pneumovax 23 Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you are planning on getting Zostavax at the same time as Pneumovax 23. 

This is not a complete list of Pneumovax 23 drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information. 

Pneumovax 23 Precautions

Tell your health care provider or get emergency help right away if you get any of the following problems after vaccination because these may be signs of an allergic reaction or other serious conditions:

  • difficulty breathing
  • wheezing
  • rash
  • hives

Pneumovax 23 may not protect everyone who gets it. It will not protect against diseases that are caused by bacteria types that are not in the vaccine.

Talk to your health care provider if you plan to get Zostavax at the same time as Pneumovax 23 because it may be better to get these vaccines at least 4 weeks apart.

You should not get this vaccine if you (or your child):

  • are allergic to any of its ingredients
  • had an allergic reaction to Pneumovax 23 in the past
  • are less than 2 years old

Pneumovax 23 Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Pneumovax 23, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication. 

Inform MD

Tell your health care provider if you (or your child):

  • are allergic to Pneumovax 23
  • have heart or lung problems
  • have a fever
  • have immune problems or are receiving radiation treatment for chemotherapy
  • are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • are going to receive other vaccines

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Pneumovax 23 and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications and vaccines based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Pneumovax 23 falls into category C. There are no well-controlled studies that have been done in pregnant women. Pneumovax 23 should be used during pregnancy only if the possible benefit outweighs the possible risk to the unborn baby. 


Pneumovax 23 and Lactation

Tell your doctor is you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. 

It is not known if Pneumovax 23 crosses into human milk. Because some vaccines can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this vaccine, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this vaccine. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using Pneumovax 23. 

Pneumovax 23 Usage

This medication will be administered by a healthcare provider. 

It is given as one shot either into the muscle or under the skin. 

Pneumovax 23 Dosage

Most often Penumovax 23 is just given as one shot that is injected either into the muscle or just under the skin. 

Penumovax 23 is approved for use in persons 50 years of age or older and persons aged ≥2 years who are at increased risk for pneumococcal disease.

If you or your child is in a high-risk group for pneumococcal infection, then your health care provider will decide if it would be helpful to give a second shot of Pneumovax 23 at a later time.

Pneumovax 23 Overdose

Pneumovax 23 is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting. It is unlikely that an overdose will occur in this setting. However, if overdoes is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.