The most common side effects of the Merck Pnumovax vaccine are pain, swelling and hardening of the skin at the injection site, headache, muscle pain and feeling tired, according to Merck and Company. Less common, but more serious, side effects are signs of allergic reaction including difficulty breathing, rash and hives.
Like any medication, the Pnumovax vaccine can cause severe allergic reaction, but this happens very rarely, about one in a million doses, claims the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Allergic reaction symptoms occur within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. Most people experience mild side effects at the injection site that go away on their own in a couple of days. People who experience side effects can report them to their health care provider or to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, at 800-822-7967 or at Vaers.hhs.gov, says Merck and Company.
Pneumovax is a vaccine given as a shot that protects people from 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. Pneumococcal infection can cause life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia and meningitis, says the CDC. Doctors recommend that all adults 65 years and older and children two years or older at high risk for disease get the vaccine. Adults ages 19 through 64 years old with asthma or who smoke should also get the vaccine.