Pneumonia shot side effects

Contents

Pneumovax 23

SIDE EFFECTS

Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a vaccine cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another vaccine and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover clinical trial, subjects were enrolled in four different cohorts defined by age (50-64 years of age and ≥ 65 years of age) and vaccination status (no pneumococcal vaccination or receipt of a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine 3-5 years prior to the study). Subjects in each cohort were randomized to receive intramuscular injections of PNEUMOVAX 23 followed by placebo (saline containing 0.25% phenol), or placebo followed by PNEUMOVAX 23, at 30-day (±7 days) intervals. The safety of an initial vaccination (first dose) was compared to revaccination (second dose) with PNEUMOVAX 23 for 14 days following each vaccination.

Serious Adverse Experiences

In this study, 10 subjects had serious adverse experiences within 14 days of vaccination: 6 who received PNEUMOVAX 23 and 4 who received placebo. Serious adverse experiences within 14 days after PNEUMOVAX 23 included angina pectoris, heart failure, chest pain, ulcerative colitis, depression, and headache/tremor/stiffness/sweating. Serious adverse experiences within 14 days after placebo included myocardial infarction complicated with heart failure, alcohol intoxication, angina pectoris, and edema/urinary retention/heart failure/diabetes.

Five subjects reported serious adverse experiences that occurred outside the 14-day follow-up window: 3 who received PNEUMOVAX 23 and 2 who received placebo. Serious adverse experiences after PNEUMOVAX 23 included cerebrovascular accident, lumbar radiculopathy, and pancreatitis/myocardial infarction resulting in death. Serious adverse experiences after placebo included heart failure and motor vehicle accident resulting in death.4

Solicited and Unsolicited Reactions

Table 1 presents the adverse event rates for all solicited and unsolicited reactions reported in ≥ 1% in any group in this study, without regard to causality.

Table 1: Incidence of Injection-Site and Systemic Complaints in Adults ≥ 50 Years of Age Receiving Their First (Initial) or Second (Revaccination) Dose of PNEUMOVAX 23 (Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine, 23 Valent) or Placebo Occurring at ≥ 1% in Any Group

In this clinical study an increased rate of local reactions was observed with revaccination at 3-5 years following initial vaccination.

For subjects aged 65 years or older, injection-site adverse reaction rate was higher following revaccination (79.3%) than following initial vaccination (52.9%). The proportion of subjects reporting injection site discomfort that interfered with or prevented usual activity or injection site induration ≥ 4 inches was higher following revaccination (30.6%) than following initial vaccination (10.4%). Injection site reactions typically resolved by 5 days following vaccination.

For subjects aged 50-64 years, the injection-site adverse reaction rate for revaccinees and initial vaccinees was similar (79.6% and 72.8% respectively).

The rate of systemic adverse reactions was similar among both initial vaccinees and revaccinees within each age group. The rate of vaccine-related systemic adverse reactions was higher following revaccination (33.1%) than following initial vaccination (21.7%) in subjects 65 years of age or older, and was similar following revaccination (37.5%) and initial vaccination (35.5%) in subjects 50-64 years of age. The most common systemic adverse reactions reported after PNEUMOVAX 23 were as follows: asthenia/fatigue, myalgia and headache.

Regardless of age, the observed increase in post vaccination use of analgesics ( ≤ 13% in the revaccinees and ≤ 4% in the initial vaccinees) returned to baseline by day 5.

Post-Marketing Experience

The following list of adverse reactions includes those identified during post approval use of PNEUMOVAX 23. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or their causal relationship to product exposure.

General Disorders And Administration Site Conditions

Cellulitis Malaise
Fever ( > 102°F)
Warmth at the injection site
Decreased limb mobility
Peripheral edema in the injected extremity

Digestive System

Nausea
Vomiting

Hematologic/Lymphatic

Lymphadenitis
Lymphadenopathy
Thrombocytopenia in patients with stabilized idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura3
Hemolytic anemia in patients who have had other hematologic disorders
Leukocytosis

Hypersensitivity Reactions Including

Anaphylactoid reactions
Serum Sickness
Angioneurotic edema

Musculoskeletal System

Arthralgia
Arthritis

Nervous System

Paresthesia
Radiculoneuropathy
Guillain-Barré syndrome
Febrile convulsion

Skin

Rash
Urticaria
Cellulitis-like reactions
Erythema multiforme

Investigations

Increased serum C-reactive protein

3. Kelton, J.G.: Vaccination-associated relapse of immune thrombocytopenia, JAMA. 245(4): 369-371, 1981.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Pneumovax 23 (Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent)

Pneumococcal Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know

Key Facts

Pneumococcal disease is common in young children, but older adults are at greatest risk of serious illness and death. There are 2 kinds of vaccines that help prevent pneumococcal disease

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or PCV13
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine or PPSV23

Who Should Get Pneumococcal Vaccines?

CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for all children younger than 2 years old and all adults 65 years or older. In certain situations, other children and adults should also get pneumococcal vaccines. Below is more information about who should and should not get each type of pneumococcal vaccine.

Talk to your or your child’s clinician about what is best for your specific situation.

PCV13

CDC recommends PCV13 for

  • All children younger than 2 years old
  • People 2 years or older with certain medical conditions

Adults 65 years or older also can discuss and decide, with their clinician, to get PCV13.

PPSV23

CDC recommends PPSV23 for

  • All adults 65 years or older
  • People 2 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions
  • Adults 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes

Who Should Not Get These Vaccines?

Because of age or health conditions, some people should not get certain vaccines or should wait before getting them. Read the guidelines below and ask your or your child’s healthcare professional for more information.

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

Tell the person who is giving you or your child a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine if:

You or your child have had a life-threatening allergic reaction or have a severe allergy.

  • Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any of the following should not get PCV13:
    • A dose of this vaccine
    • An earlier pneumococcal conjugate vaccine called PCV7 (or Prevnar®)
    • Any vaccine containing diphtheria toxoid (for example, DTaP)
  • Anyone with a severe allergy to any component of PCV13 should not get the vaccine. Your or your child’s healthcare professional can tell you about the vaccine’s components.

You or your child are not feeling well.

  • People who have a mild illness, such as a cold, can probably get the vaccine. People who have a more serious illness should probably wait until they recover. Your or your child’s healthcare professional can advise you.

Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine

Children younger than 2 years old should not get this vaccine. In addition, tell the person who is giving you or your child a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine if:

  • Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to PPSV23 should not get another dose.
  • Anyone who has a severe allergy to any component of PPSV23 should not get it. Your or your child’s healthcare professional can tell you about the vaccine’s components.
  • People who have a mild illness, such as a cold, can probably get the vaccine. People who have a more serious illness should probably wait until they recover. Your or your child’s healthcare professional can advise you.

You are pregnant.

  • There is no evidence that PPSV23 is harmful either to a pregnant woman or to her baby. However, as a precaution, women who need the vaccine should get it before becoming pregnant, if possible.

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What Types of Pneumococcal Vaccines Are There?

There are two pneumococcal vaccines licensed for use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13 or Prevnar 13®)
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23 or Pneumovax23®)

Helpful Terms

  • Conjugate: A type of vaccine that joins a protein to part of the bacteria to improve the protection the vaccine provides
  • Polysaccharide: A type of vaccine that is made to look like the surface of certain bacteria in order to help the body build protection against that germ
  • Prevnar 13® external icon: Doctors give this vaccine to children at 2, 4, 6, and 12 through 15 months old. Adults who need this vaccine only get a single dose. The vaccine helps protect against the 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria that most commonly cause serious infections in children and adults. It can also help prevent ear infections and pneumonia caused by those 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria.
  • Pneumovax23® pdf iconexternal icon: Doctors give a single dose of this vaccine to people who need it. CDC recommends one or two additional doses for people with certain chronic medical conditions. This vaccine helps protect against serious infections caused by 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria.

How Well Do These Vaccines Work?

Summary

Some pneumococcal infections are “invasive.” Invasive disease means that germs invade parts of the body that are normally free from germs. Invasive disease is usually very serious and can sometimes result in death.

Vaccines that help protect against pneumococcal disease work well, but cannot prevent all cases.

Studies* show that at least 1 dose of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine protects

  • At least 8 in 10 babies from serious infections called invasive pneumococcal disease
  • 75 in 100 adults 65 years or older against invasive pneumococcal disease
  • 45 in 100 adults 65 years or older against pneumococcal pneumonia

Studies* show that 1 dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine protects

  • Between 50 to 85 in 100 healthy adults against invasive pneumococcal disease

* Studies looked at protection against infections caused by the serotypes covered by the specific vaccine used

In Depth

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed the first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7 or Prevnar®) in 2000. That same year, the United States began using PCV7 routinely in children. It provided protection against infections caused by 7 types (serotypes) of pneumococcal bacteria. Studies showed PCV7 was highly effective in preventing invasive pneumococcal disease caused by serotypes included in the vaccine (vaccine serotypes) in young children.

In 2010, FDA licensed PCV13, which provides protection against infections caused by 6 more serotypes than PCV7. Studies show PCV13 causes the body’s immune system to create antibodies, which help fight the pneumococcal bacteria, similar to PCV7.

In a California study, PCV7 protected more than 9 in 10 babies from invasive disease caused by vaccine serotypes. The children who got the vaccine also had fewer ear infections and fewer ear tubes placed. The study also showed the vaccine prevented pneumonia in children.

A CDC study found PCV7 protected nearly all (96%) healthy children against pneumococcal disease caused by vaccine serotypes. One dose also protected 8 in 10 (81%) children with medical conditions that increased their risk of pneumococcal disease. The vaccine also prevented antibiotic-resistant pneumococcal infections caused by vaccine serotypes.

Another study showed one dose of PCV13 protects 8 in 10 babies from invasive disease caused by vaccine serotypes. This protection was similar among children with and without medical conditions that put them at increased risk of pneumococcal disease. The vaccine is also effective at preventing antibiotic-resistant pneumococcal infections caused by vaccine serotypes.

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The United States saw large drops in rates of invasive pneumococcal disease caused by serotypes included in pneumococcal vaccines (PCV7 and PCV13) after routine use of the vaccines began for children.

Rates of invasive pneumococcal disease caused by the serotypes in PCV7 declined by 99% in the United States since 2000. Unvaccinated people of all ages, including babies too young to get the vaccine, have seen decreases in disease. Since it helps protect unvaccinated people, this shows the vaccine decreased the bacteria’s spread in the community. Rates of invasive pneumococcal disease caused by some serotypes not in PCV7 increased between 2000 and 2010. However, these increases were small compared to the decreases in serotypes in the vaccine. Also, PCV13 covers the main serotypes that caused the increases. Thus, rates of disease caused by these serotypes declined once PCV13 replaced PCV7 in 2010. Experts estimate PCV13 prevented more than 30,000 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease and 3,000 deaths in its first 3 years of use.

In 2011, FDA licensed PCV13 for use in adults 50 years or older. A study in the Netherlands included approximately 85,000 adults 65 years or older. In this study, PCV13 protected 3 in 4 of those vaccinated against invasive pneumococcal disease caused by vaccine serotypes. PCV13 also protected 45 in 100 vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia caused by vaccine serotypes.

Studies show PPSV23 protects between 50 to 85 in 100 adults with healthy immune systems against invasive disease caused by vaccine serotypes.

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What Are the Possible Side Effects?

Most people who get a pneumococcal vaccine do not have any serious problems with it. With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of side effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days, but serious reactions are possible.

Mild Problems

Mild problems following pneumococcal conjugate vaccination can include:

  • Reactions where the shot was given
    • Redness
    • Swelling
    • Pain or tenderness
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fussiness (irritability)
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache
  • Chills

Young children who get pneumococcal conjugate vaccine at the same time as inactivated flu vaccine may be at increased risk for seizures caused by fever. Ask your doctor for more information.

Mild problems following pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination can include:

  • Reactions where the shot was given
    • Redness
    • Pain
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches

If these problems occur, they usually go away within about two days.

Problems that Could Happen After Getting Any Injected Vaccine

  • People sometimes faint after a medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting and injuries caused by a fall. Tell your healthcare professional if you or your child:
    • Feels dizzy
    • Has vision changes
    • Has ringing in the ears
  • Some people get severe pain in the shoulder and have difficulty moving the arm where the doctor gave the shot. This happens very rarely.
  • Any medicine can cause a severe allergic reaction. Such reactions from a vaccine are very rare, estimated at about 1 in a million doses. These types of reactions would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
  • As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.

For more information on possible side effects, visit CDC’s Possible Side effects from Vaccines webpage.

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Where Can I Find These Vaccines?

Your healthcare professional’s office is usually the best place to receive recommended vaccines for you or your child.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is part of the routine childhood immunization schedule. Therefore, it is regularly available for children at:

  • Pediatric offices
  • Family practice offices
  • Community health clinics
  • Public health departments

If your healthcare professional does not have pneumococcal vaccines for adults, ask for a referral.

Pneumococcal vaccines may also be available for adults at:

  • Pharmacies
  • Workplaces
  • Community health clinics
  • Health departments
  • Other community locations such as schools and religious centers

Federally funded health centers can also provide services if you don’t have a regular source of health care. Locate one near youexternal icon. You can also contact your state health department to learn more about where to get pneumococcal vaccines in your community.

When receiving any vaccine, ask the provider to record the vaccine in the state or local registry, if available. This helps healthcare professionals know what vaccines you or your child has already received.

How Do I Pay for These Vaccines?

There are several ways to cover the cost of pneumococcal vaccines:

Medicare

Medicare Part B covers 100% of the cost for both pneumococcal vaccines (when administered at least 12 months apart).

Private Health Insurance

Most private health insurance plans cover pneumococcal vaccines. Check with your insurance provider for details on whether there is any cost to you and for a list of in-network vaccine providers.

Vaccines for Children Program

The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program provides vaccines to children whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. A child is eligible if they are younger than 19 years old and meets one of the following requirements:

  • Medicaid-eligible
  • Uninsured
  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Underinsured (have health insurance that does not cover vaccines or does not cover certain vaccines)

If your child is VFC-eligible, ask if your healthcare professional is a VFC provider. For help in finding a VFC provider near you, contact your state or local health department’s VFC Program Coordinator or call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).

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  • Bonten MJ, Huijts SM, Bolkenbaas M, et al. Polysaccharide conjugate vaccine against pneumococcal pneumonia in adultsexternal icon. N Engl J Med. 2015;372(12):1114–25.
  • Moore MR, Link-Gelles R, Schaffner W, et al. Effectiveness of 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease in children in the USA: A matched case-control studyexternal icon. Lancet Respir Med. 2016;4(5):399–406.
  • Pilishvili T, Bennett NM. Pneumococcal disease prevention among adults: Strategies for the use of pneumococcal vaccinesexternal icon. Vaccine. 2015;33(4):D60–5.

Related Pages

  • CDC’s Pneumococcal Disease Website
  • Educational Materials on Pneumococcal Disease
  • Immunization Schedules for Parents and Adults
  • Pneumococcal Vaccine Information Statements
    • PCV13 (English / Other Languagesexternal icon)
    • PPSV23 (English / Other Languagesexternal icon)
  • Vaccine Safety
    • CDC’s Vaccine Safety Website
    • Safety and Immunogenicity of a 13-Valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccineexternal icon
      PEDIATRICS Vol. 125 No. 5 May 2010, pp. 866-875 Posted May 2010
    • Pneumococcal Vaccine Safety Website: A Closer Look at the Safety Data
    • Frequently Asked Questions about Vaccine Safety
  • Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13) Mandates for Children in Child Care Facilitiesexternal icon
    Listed by state
  • Vaccines for Children Program
  • Information for the General Public: Cochlear Implants and Vaccination Recommendations

Pneumococcal immunisation service

Why get immunised against pneumococcal disease?

Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection. It is especially serious for young children and older people. It can cause pneumonia, bloodstream infection and meningitis (inflammation of the membranes around the brain).

Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect you from pneumococcal disease.

By getting vaccinated against pneumococcal disease, you can also help protect other people, especially people who are too young to be vaccinated. The more people who are vaccinated in your community, the less likely the disease will spread.

Who should get immunised against pneumococcal disease?

Anyone who wants to protect themselves against pneumococcal disease can talk to their doctor about getting immunised.

Pneumococcal immunisation is recommended for:

  • all children aged 2 months, 4 months and 12 months, for free under the National Immunisation Program (NIP)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months who live in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia or South Australia, in addition to the routine 2 month, 4 month and 12 month vaccine for free under the NIP
  • children who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk of getting serious pneumococcal disease, when they are 6 months old and 4 years old, in addition to the routine 2 month, 4 month and 12 month vaccine for free under the NIP
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk, when they are aged 15 years or over, for free under the NIP
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years or over, for free under the NIP
  • all non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 65 years or over, for free under the NIP
  • children, adolescents and adults who have certain medical conditions that put them at higher risk – talk to your doctor about when to get these doses.

Where can you get a pneumococcal immunisation?

Pneumococcal immunisations are available in each Australian state and territory.

See Where can I get immunised? for information.

How do you get immunised against pneumococcal disease?

You can only get pneumococcal vaccines on their own, not as a combination vaccine. Different vaccines protect against different types of pneumococcal disease. They are all given as a needle.

There are 2 types of pneumococcal vaccine:

  • One vaccine covers 13 strains of pneumococcal disease. This one is used to immunise babies and young children.
  • The other vaccine covers 23 strains of pneumococcal disease. This one is used to immunise older people and people who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk of getting serious pneumococcal disease.

Pneumococcal vaccines include:

  • Prevenar 13 – PDF 21 KB
  • Pneumovax 23 – PDF 21 KB.

Your doctor can tell you which vaccine they will use for your pneumococcal immunisation.

Do I need to pay for pneumococcal immunisation?

Vaccines covered by the National Immunisation Program are free for people who are eligible. See the NIP Schedule to find out which vaccines you or your family are eligible to receive.

Eligible people get the vaccine for free, but your health care provider (for example, your doctor) may charge a consultation fee for the visit. You can check this when you make your appointment.

If you are not eligible for free vaccine, you may need to pay for it. The cost depends on the type of vaccine, the formula and where you buy it from. Your immunisation provider can give you more information.

What are the possible side effects of pneumococcal immunisation?

All medicines and vaccines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they’re not.

For most people, the chance of having a serious side effect from a vaccine is much lower than the chance of serious harm if you caught the disease.

Talk to your doctor about possible side effects of pneumococcal vaccines, or if you or your child have symptoms after having a pneumococcal vaccine that worry you.

Common side effects of pneumococcal vaccines include:

  • pain, redness and swelling where the needle went in
  • fever
  • feeling irritable
  • feeling drowsy
  • reduced appetite
  • body aches.

The Consumer Medicine Information links in How do you get immunised against pneumococcal disease? list the side effects of each vaccine.

More information

  • Pneumococcal disease
  • What is immunisation?
  • How does immunisation work?
  • NIP Schedule
  • National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance

Contacts

If you need advice or more information about immunisation, go to our Immunisation contacts page.

Pneumococcal 23-Polyvalent Vaccine

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

Pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPSV) is used to prevent infection caused by pneumococcal bacteria. PPSV contains 23 of the most common types of pneumococcal bacteria.

PPSV works by exposing you to a small dose of the bacteria or a protein from the bacteria, which causes your body to develop immunity to the disease. PPSV will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

PPSV is for use only in adults and children who are at least 2 years old. For children younger than 2 years old, another vaccine called Prevnar (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 7-valent) is used, usually given between the ages of 2 months and 15 months.

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

PPSV should be given at least 2 weeks before the start of any treatment that can weaken your immune system. PPSV is also given at least 2 weeks before you undergo a splenectomy (surgical removal of the spleen).

The timing of this vaccination is very important for it to be effective. Follow your doctor’s instructions.

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a cold or fever. 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.

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

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. If you ever need to receive a booster dose, you will need to tell your doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with pneumococcal disease (such as pneumonia or meningitis) 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 extremely low.

You should not receive this vaccine if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine.

Before receiving this vaccine, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia, or easy bruising.

The timing and number of PPSV doses you receive will depend on whether you have any of these other conditions:

  • cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma;
  • HIV or AIDS;
  • sickle cell disease;
  • a kidney condition called nephrotic syndrome;
  • a history of organ or bone marrow transplant;
  • if you are receiving chemotherapy;
  • if you have been using steroid medication for a long period of time;
  • if you are scheduled to have your spleen removed (splenectomy); or
  • if you have received a pneumococcal vaccine within the past 3 to 5 years.

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a cold or fever. 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.

Vaccines may be harmful to an unborn baby and generally should not be given to a pregnant woman. However, not vaccinating the mother could be more harmful to the baby if the mother becomes infected with a disease that this vaccine could prevent. Your doctor will decide whether you should receive this vaccine, especially if you have a high risk of infection with pneumococcal disease.

It is not known whether PPSV passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Pneumococcal vaccine side effects

The pneumococcal vaccine is very safe, although, like all vaccinations, it can cause side effects.

It’s not possible to catch a pneumococcal infection from the vaccine, as the vaccine does not contain any live bacteria.

Side effects of the pneumococcal vaccine in babies

Mild side effects of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), which is the version of the pneumococcal vaccine given to babies under the age of 2, include:

  • a decreased appetite
  • a slightly raised temperature
  • irritability
  • redness and swelling at the site of the injection
  • feeling sleepy or not sleeping well

Serious side effects of the PCV vaccine are rare, and include:

  • a high temperature, possibly leading to convulsions (febrile seizures)
  • allergic reactions, such as an itchy skin rash

Side effects of the pneumococcal vaccine in adults and older children

Mild side effects of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV), the version of the pneumococcal vaccine given to adults and children over the age of 2, include:

  • mild soreness or hardness at the site of the injection lasting 1 to 3 days
  • a slightly raised temperature

More serious side effects of the PPV vaccine, such as allergic reactions, are rare.

What to do if your child is unwell after pneumococcal vaccination

Most common side effects in babies and young children, such as swelling or redness at the injection site, usually go away within a couple of days and you do not need to do anything about them.

If your child develops a fever, keep them cool. Make sure they do not wear too many layers of clothes or blankets, and give them cool drinks.

You can also give them a dose of infant paracetamol or ibuprofen liquid according to the instructions on the bottle.

Read an NHS leaflet about the common side effects of vaccination that may occur in babies and children (PDF, 118kb) under the age of 5, and how to treat them.

Allergic reactions to the pneumococcal vaccine

Very occasionally, a child or adult may have a serious allergic reaction after either type of pneumococcal vaccination.

Known as an anaphylactic reaction, this can cause life-threatening breathing difficulties.

Anaphylaxis is a rare, serious side effect that can happen within minutes of the injection. It’s very alarming at the time, but it can be treated with adrenaline.

The doctor or nurse giving the vaccine will have been trained to know how to treat anaphylactic reactions.

Provided they receive treatment promptly, children and adults make a complete recovery.

Call your GP if you notice any unusual symptoms in your baby or yourself after being vaccinated.

Find out more about vaccine safety and side effects

Reporting side effects of the pneumococcal vaccine

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine you’re taking or vaccines you have received.

It’s run by a medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

See the Yellow Card Scheme website for more information.

Find out how to report a vaccine side effect

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) – what you need to know

Why get vaccinated?

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) can prevent pneumococcal disease.

Pneumococcal disease refers to any illness caused by pneumococcal bacteria. These bacteria can cause many types of illnesses, including pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs. Pneumococcal bacteria are one of the most common causes of pneumonia.

Besides pneumonia, pneumococcal bacteria can also cause:

  • Ear infections
  • Sinus infections
  • Meningitis (infection of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord)
  • Bacteremia (bloodstream infection)

Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but children under 2 years of age, people with certain medical conditions, adults 65 years or older, and cigarette smokers are at the highest risk.

Most pneumococcal infections are mild. However, some can result in long-term problems, such as brain damage or hearing loss. Meningitis, bacteremia, and pneumonia caused by pneumococcal disease can be fatal.

PPSV23

PPSV23 protects against 23 types of bacteria that cause pneumococcal disease.

PPSV23 is recommended for:

  • All adults 65 years or older.
  • Anyone 2 years or older with certain medical conditions that can lead to an increased risk for pneumococcal disease.

Most people need only one dose of PPSV23. A second dose of PPSV23, and another type of pneumococcal vaccine called PCV13, are recommended for certain high-risk groups. Your health care provider can give you more information.

People 65 years or older should get a dose of PPSV23 even if they have already gotten one or more doses of the vaccine before they turned 65.

Talk with your health care provider

Tell your vaccine provider if the person getting the vaccine has had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of PPSV23, or has any severe, life-threatening allergies.

In some cases, your provider may decide to postpone PPSV23 vaccination to a future visit.

People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting PPSV23.

Your provider can give you more information.

Risks of a vaccine reaction

Redness or pain where the shot is given, feeling tired, fever, or muscle aches can happen after PPSV23.

People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.

As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.

What if there is a serious problem?

An allergic reaction could occur after the vaccinated person leaves the clinic. If you see signs of a severe allergic reaction (hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness), call 911 and get the person to the nearest hospital.

For other signs that concern you, call your provider.

Adverse reactions should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your health care provider will usually file this report, or you can do it yourself. Visit the VAERS website (vaers.hhs.gov) or call 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions, and VAERS staff do not give medical advice.

How can I learn more?

  • Ask your provider.
  • Call your local or state health department.
  • Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by calling 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO) or visiting CDC’s vaccine website.

Your Child’s Immunizations: Pneumococcal Vaccines (PCV, PPSV)

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What Are Pneumococcal Infections?

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) protect against pneumococcal infections, which are caused by bacteria.

The bacteria spread through person-to-person contact and can cause such serious infections as pneumonia, blood infections, and bacterial meningitis.

PCV13 protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria (which cause the most common pneumococcal infections in kids). PPSV23 protects against 23 types. These vaccines not only prevent infections in children who are immunized, but also help stop the infections from spreading to others.

PCV and PPSV Immunization Schedules

PCV13 immunizations are given to all infants as a series of four injections:

  • the first at 2 months of age
  • then at 4 months, 6 months, and 12–15 months

Some kids older than age 2 also might need a shot of PCV13 if they have missed one or more shots, especially if they have a chronic health condition (such as heart or lung disease) or one weakens the immune system (like asplenia, HIV infection, etc.). A doctor can decide when and how often a child will need to receive PCV13.

PPSV23 immunizations are recommended as added protection against pneumococcal disease in kids 2–18 years old who have certain chronic health conditions, including heart, lung, or liver disease; diabetes; kidney failure; a weakened immune system (such as from cancer or HIV infection); or cochlear implants.

Why Are the PCV and PPSV Vaccines Recommended?

Children younger than 2 years old, adults over 65, and people with certain medical conditions are at high risk of developing serious pneumococcal infections. These vaccines are very effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and even death.

Possible Risks of PCV and PPSV Vaccines

Kids may have redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given. A child also might have a fever after getting the shot. There is a very small chance of an allergic reaction with any vaccine.

When to Delay or Avoid PCV and PPSV Immunization

These vaccines are not recommended if your child:

  • is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
  • has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of a pneumococcal vaccine or to the DTaP vaccine

Caring for Your Child After PCV and PPSV Immunization

These vaccines may cause mild fever and soreness or redness in the area where the shot was given. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain or fever and to find out the appropriate dose.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

  • Call if your child missed a dose in the series.
  • Call if a severe allergic reaction or high fever happens after immunization.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD Date reviewed: March 2019

Who Should Get the Vaccine?

People over age 65. As you age, your immune system doesn’t work as well as it once did. You’re more likely to have trouble fighting off a pneumonia infection. All adults over age 65 should get the vaccine.

Those with weakened immune systems. Many diseases can cause your immune system to weaken, so it’s less able to fight off bugs like pneumonia.

If you have heart disease, diabetes, emphysema, asthma, or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), you’re more likely to have a weakened immune system, which makes you more likely to get pneumonia.

The same goes for people who receive chemotherapy, people who have had organ transplants, and people with HIV or AIDS.

People who smoke. If you’ve smoked for a long time, you could have damage to the small hairs that line the insides of your lungs and help filter out germs. When they’re damaged, they aren’t as good at stopping those bad germs.

Heavy drinkers. If you drink too much alcohol, you may have a weakened immune system. Your white blood cells (which fight infection) don’t work as well as they do for people with a healthy immune system.

People getting over surgery or a severe illness. If you were in the hospital ICU (intensive care unit) and needed help breathing with a ventilator, you’re at risk of getting pneumonia. The same is true if you’ve just had major surgery or if you’re healing from a serious injury. When your immune system is weak because of illness or injury or because it’s helping you get better from surgery, you can’t fight off germs as well as you normally can.

Adverse Reactions To Pneumovax Pneumococcal Vaccine-cases Of Hyperimmunization?

RATIONALE: The purpose of our study was to determine identifiable risk factors for adverse reactions to Pneumovax, the 23-serotype pneumococcal vaccine.

METHODS: Medical records of 173 patients who received Pneumovax between January 2004 and December 2005 were reviewed for evaluation of risk factors. Variables considered included age, gender, indication for Pneumovax, and prior pneumococcal vaccines.

RESULTS: 4/173 patients were identified with adverse reactions Two of them developed local cellulitis and fever and two had local cellulitis, fever and vomiting. The mean age of the study subjects was 8.6 years, 68% were male. The most common indication for vaccination was recurrent upper respiratory infections. Other indications included recent pneumonia, chronic lung disease and asplenia. Of the patients who had a reaction to the vaccine, the mean age was 6.5 years old and all were male. The indication for 3/4 was evaluation of suspected immunodeficiency. The fourth had received the vaccine because of asplenia. The previous vaccination records were available for 1/4 patients. He had had 4 PCV vaccinations, with the most recent being about 18 months prior to the pneumovax administration.

CONCLUSION: Although rare, adverse reactions do occur after vaccination with pneumoccocal vaccines. Local and systemic reactions to the vaccine may be greater when revaccination is done within 3 years after the previous dose; this reactivity appears to be due to an Arthus-like response that results from local formation of antigen-antibody complexes. Further studies are indicated to determine if adverse reactions may be avoided by observing defined time frames between subsequent doses of pneumococcal vaccines.

By: Kelly Hersh, N.P.

Give it your best shot

We are now officially into cold and flu season, and many of us will be getting the flu vaccine at a flu clinic, pharmacy or doctor’s office. While this recommendation to get a booster vaccine yearly is pretty straight forward, many people are confused about the recommendations for two other important vaccines, the pneumococcal or pneumonia vaccines.

These vaccines protect the body against bacteria that can cause meningitis, bacteremia (blood infection) and pneumonia. There are two kinds of pneumococcal vaccines available in the United States; the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.

Let’s review which ones are recommended and when.

The 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13), is also sometimes referred to by the brand name Prevnar. As it’s name suggests, it protects against 13 different subtypes of pneumooccal bacteria. The PCV13 is recommended for all babies and children younger than 2 years old and is a part of the standard childhood vaccine schedule. Additionally, it is recommended for:

• Anyone ages 2 through 64 years old with certain immunocompromising conditions. These conditions include functional or anatomic asplenia, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks, or having cochlear implants.
• All adults 65 years or older, regardless of health status.

The second pneumonia vaccine available is the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23). This is also referred to by the brand name brand name Pneumovax. It protects against 23 subtypes of pneumococcal bacteria. This vaccine is recommended for:

• All adults 65 years of age and older.
• Anyone ages 2 through 64 years of age with certain long-term health problems (including COPD, asthma, heart disease and diabetes).
• Adults 19 through 64 years of age who smoke cigarettes.

What about boosters?

Most people need only one dose of PPSV23, although some high risk people need two or three doses. Anyone who received one or two doses before age 65 should receive one final dose after they turn 65. There should be at least a five year wait between doses. The PCV13 is easier to remember: adults only need to receive 1 dose regardless of health status.

In most cases, there should be at least a year’s wait between getting the PCV13 and the PPSV23 vaccines. It is ok to receive either of these vaccines at the same time as your flu vaccine. Injection site reactions, particularly with the PPSV23, are the most common side effects.

Be sure to speak with your health care provider if you have any further questions about these recommendations!

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