What is pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine?

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Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23): Overview

The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) can prevent some of the serious complications of pneumonia. This includes infection in the bloodstream (bacteremia) or throughout the body (septicemia).

PPSV23 is recommended for people ages 65 years and older. People ages 2 to 64 who have a long-term illness should also get the vaccine. This includes people with diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, or lung disease. PPSV23 can also help people who have a weakened immune system. This includes cancer patients and people who don't have a spleen. The immune system helps your body fight infection and other illnesses.

PPSV23 is given as a shot. It's usually given in the arm. Healthy older adults get the shot once. Other people may need to have a second dose. The shot may cause pain and redness at the site. It may also cause a mild fever for a short time.

How can you care for yourself after the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23)?

  • Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve), if your arm is sore after the shot. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to your child for pain or fussiness after the shot. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on the sore area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.

Who needs the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23)?

This shot may prevent you from getting pneumonia. And it can prevent some of the serious problems caused by pneumonia, such as blood infections (sepsis).

  • People age 2 years and older who have certain chronic diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease, need this shot.
  • People age 65 and older need this shot.

People who are at high risk for pneumococcal infection usually need more than one dose. Ask your doctor if you need more than one dose of the PPSV23 vaccine.

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