Pneumococcal disease is a serious disease caused by a bacteria. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) exposes the individual to a small dose of the bacteria (or a protein from the bacteria) and causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. Pneumococcal infection can cause ear infection, sinus infection, pneumonia, blood infection (bacteremia), and meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain). About 1 out of every 20 people who get pneumococcal pneumonia dies from it, as do about 2 out of every 10 who get bacteremia, and 3 out of 10 who get meningitis. Pneumococcal disease kills more people in the United States every year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined. PPV (adult, 23-valent) is recommended for: all adults 65 years of age and older; anyone over 2 years of age who has long-term health problems such as sickle cell disease; heart disease; lung disease; alcoholism; diabetes; cirrhosis; or leaks of cerebrospinal fluid; anyone over 2 years of age who has a condition that lowers the body's resistance to infection such as: Hodgkin's disease, lymphoma, leukemia, kidney failure, multiple myeloma, nephrotic syndrome, damaged spleen or no spleen, or organ transplant; anyone over 2 years of age who is taking any drug or treatment that lowers the body's resistance to infection such as long-term steroids, radiation therapy, and certain cancer drugs; and all Alaskan natives and certain Native American populations. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine can help prevent the disease. Many more people would get the disease if vaccination did not occur.
Pneumovax 23 is a vaccine used to prevent serious infections caused by pneumococcal bacteria. By helping your body produce more antibodies, Pneumovax 23 can help fight off pneumonia, meningitis, ear infections and more.