What Is the Pneumovax 23 Vaccine?


Quick Answer

The Pneumovax 23 vaccine protects the patient from serious infections, such as meningitis, due to the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, according to WebMD. This vaccine primarily is used for those at risk, including those with diseases of the heart, lungs and liver.

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Full Answer

The Pneumovax 23 vaccine is injected under the skin or directly into a muscle, states WebMD. When placed into a muscle, it is given in the thigh or the upper arm. Some patients must receive a second dose of the vaccine if they remain at high risk. This is generally true for those who are younger than 65 when they receive the first injection; however, the second injection should not be given until five years after the first.

It is recommended that those who receive the Pneumovax 23 injection before surgery on the spleen or before undergoing chemotherapy for cancer get the injection at least two weeks prior to the procedures, explains WebMD. This gives the vaccine time to provide maximum efficacy.

Some drugs, such as blood thinners, corticosteroids and chemotherapy drugs, may interact badly with the Pneumovax 23 injection, warns WebMD. If taking any of these, patients should make sure to tell the doctor before receiving the Pneumovax 23 injection.

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