The pneumonia vaccination contains 23 strains of the pneumococcal virus stored in a saline solution with a phenol as a preservative, according to the National Vaccine Information Center. There are two versions of the vaccine. The one containing 23 strains of the virus is known as pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, or PPSV.
The second variation of the vaccination known as the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, or PCV, contains 13 strains of the pneumococcal virus and is recommended for children, states the National Vaccine Information Center.
Vaccinations contain weakened or killed versions of the virus to help the body fight off the virus and produce immunity against further infection, according to Vaccines.gov. Pneumovax 23, which is another name for the pneumonia vaccine with 23 strains, contains the strains of the most prevalent types of pneumonia, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, along with six other variations of the virus that cause drug-resistant infections in adults and children, according to Drugs.com.
The mixed pneumonia strains are stored in a purified polysaccharide form, which is basically a sugar, according to Drugs.com. The mixture is then placed in a saltwater or saline solution along with a phenol, which is a preservative used to maintain the vaccines until they are administered. Each 0.5 milliliter dosage of the vaccine contains 25 micrograms of the sugar-saline pneumonia virus solution and 0.25 percent of the phenol used as a preservative, according to Merck Research Laboratories, the manufacturer of Pneumovax 23.