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pneumonia vaccine

Alternative Names
pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, PPV

The pneumonia vaccine is given to children or adults at high risk for pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia. Pneumococcal disease is caused by certain bacteria that live in the nose, sinuses, ears, and throat. Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but most healthy people do not get severely ill or die from it.

The pneumonia vaccine protects against discomforts and serious, sometimes fatal, complications that can occur when the bacteria spread in the body, such as: Who is a candidate for the procedure?
The Australian government recommends the vaccine for:
  • Patients with diabetes, heart or lung conditions, kidney or liver disease
  • Patients with a suppressed immune system
  • Everyone over 65 years of age
  • All Kooris or Torres Strait Islanders aged 50 years and older
  • All Kooris or Torres Straight Islanders aged 15-49 with risk factors
How is the procedure performed?
An injection is given into the muscle of the upper thigh or arm. Usually one injection is enough. Occasionally a second injection is recommended at a 6-year interval for people with certain chronic conditions:

What happens right after the procedure?
There may be tenderness at the site of the injection. A bandage is usually applied to stop any bleeding.

What happens later at home?
This vaccine is very safe. Severe allergic reactions are very rare. It is important to seek emergency medical care immediately if a person: What are the potential complications after the procedure?
Pneumococcal disease is far more likely than the vaccine to cause serious problems for people who are at high risk for it.
  • Mild side effects may include redness, pain, and swelling at the site of the injection for 1 to 2 days.
  • Rarely, fever, muscle pains, or another reaction at the site of the injection occur.
  • Very rarely, a severe allergic reaction or even death can occur.
Author: Francesca Coltrera, BA
Reviewer: HealthAnswers Australia Medical Review Panel
Editor: Dr David Taylor, Chief Medical Officer HealthAnswers Australia
Last Updated: 1/10/2001
Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request

This website and article is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Nothing contained in this website is intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.  All Health and any associated parties do not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information.


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