Pneumovax, Prevnar, and Prevnar 13 are the three vaccines used to prevent pneumonia and other pneumococcal diseases. These injected vaccines work by "tricking" the body into thinking it has been exposed to S. pneumoniae bacteria. Possible side effects include fever, drowsiness, and pain. Before receiving a pneumonia vaccine, tell your healthcare provider if you have Guillain-Barré syndrome, a bleeding disorder, or any allergies.
None of the pneumonia vaccines contains thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative). People who are concerned about exposure to this substance can be confident that these vaccines have no thimerosal -- not even trace amounts.
Some people also are concerned about aluminum content of vaccines. While Pneumovax contains no aluminum, Prevnar and Prevnar 13 contain 0.125 mg of aluminum per dose. Also, these vaccines are not made from animal components or human fetal cell lines, unlike some vaccines.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccine information statement: Pneumovax®, Prevnar® (10/6/09). CDC Web site. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-ppv.pdf. Accessed October 26, 2009.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccine information statement: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (9/30/02). CDC Web site. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/Pubs/vis/downloads/vis-pneumoconjugate.pdf. Accessed October 26, 2009.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed October 26, 2009.
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