Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine Information
The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumovax®) is designed to provide protection against bacterial meningitis, pneumonia, and other conditions caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. It works by "tricking" the body into thinking it has been exposed to the bacteria. If future exposure to the bacteria occurs, the immune system "remembers" the bacteria and is better able to fight it off.
The vaccine is typically given as a single injection. Possible side effects include pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site. Because the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine may not be suitable for everyone, talk with your healthcare provider before receiving it if you have:
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
- Had any sort of a reaction to a vaccine in the past
- A moderate or severe illness
- Chronic cerebrospinal fluid leakage due to a skull fracture, brain surgery, or any other cause
- Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
(For more information, click Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine. This article gives an overview of who should get the vaccine, how it is administered, and what else to discuss with your healthcare provider.)