Health Guide

Pneumococcal polyvalent vaccine (By injection)

Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent (NOO-moe-KOK-al VAX-een pol-ee-VAY-lent)

Prevents severe infections, such as pneumonia and meningitis.

Brand Name(s):

Pneumovax 23

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This vaccine is not right for everyone. You should not receive this vaccine if you had an allergic reaction to pneumococcal vaccine.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • A nurse or other health provider will give you this medicine. This vaccine is given as a shot into a muscle or under the skin, usually in the thigh or upper arm.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some medicines can affect how this vaccine works. Tell your doctor if you are receiving a treatment or medicine that causes a weak immune system. This includes radiation treatment, steroid medicine (such as hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisolone, prednisone), or cancer medicine.
  • You should not receive varicella virus vaccine (Zostavax®) at the same time that you are given pneumococcal vaccine. The vaccines should be given 4 weeks apart.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell the doctor if you are currently sick, or if you have heart disease, blood vessel disease, or lung disease.
  • Adults and adolescents: Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Tell your doctor if you have a weak immune system. You may not be fully protected by this vaccine.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any problems with spinal fluid, which could be caused by a birth defect or previous surgery. This vaccine may not prevent meningitis in people who have spinal fluid problems.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • High fever

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Pain, redness, swelling, or tenderness where the shot was given
  • Tiredness or weakness

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 6/18/2019
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.

All rights reserved