Help Protect Yourself Against Pneumococcal Disease - Talk to Your Health Care Professional About Vaccination

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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 7:44 am

(NAPSI)Do you know there is a vaccine that can help protect you from pneumonia and other serious diseases caused by a common bacteria called pneumococcus (pronounced noo-mo-ka-kus)? These bacteria are a common cause of pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, but they can also cause other serious infections that affect thousands of people in the United States each year. In fact, more than 300,000 people are hospitalized each year with pneumococcal pneumonia, the most common pneumococcal disease among adults in the United States.

Pneumococcal disease includes a number of illnesses caused by the common bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). These bacteria are often found in peoples noses and throats and can be spread by coughing and sneezing. People are more vulnerable to the threat of infections as they get older because their immune system is not able to respond as well as when they were younger. In fact, the risk of pneumococcal diseases increases with age. When pneumococcal bacteria invade the bloodstream, it is called bacteremia, and when the bacteria invade the tissues and fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord, it is called meningitis. These bacteria can sometimes be antibiotic resistant.

Pneumococcal disease can occur suddenly. The good news is you can help protect yourself from these potentially severe infections with a vaccine that has played an important role in pneumococcal disease prevention efforts for almost 30 years.

PNEUMOVAX 23 (Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent) is a vaccine that is given as a single shot. It helps protect you from infection by certain germs or bacteria, which are called pneumococcus. PNEUMOVAX 23 is for people 50 years of age and older and those 2 years of age and older who are at increased risk for infection.

PNEUMOVAX 23 can help protect from infection by 23 forms of pneumococcal bacteria (called serotypes), including those that are most prevalent and most often cause serious disease (pneumonia, bacteremia and meningitis) in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2008, these 23 serotypes caused 76 percent of serious pneumococcal disease in adults ages 50−64 and 66 percent of serious pneumococcal disease in adults 65 years of age and older.

PNEUMOVAX 23 may not protect everyone who gets it. It will not protect against diseases that are caused by bacteria types that are not in the vaccine. You should not get PNEUMOVAX 23 if you are allergic to any of its ingredients, had an allergic reaction to PNEUMOVAX 23 in the past, or are less than 2 years of age.

PNEUMOVAX 23 is a vaccine recommended by the CDC to help prevent pneumococcal disease. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)-part of the CDC-recommends vaccination with PNEUMOVAX 23 for all appropriate adults 65 years of age and older, as well as people two and older who have medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory diseases like COPD that put them at higher risk for infection. According to the CDC, adults 50 years of age and older commonly have chronic medical conditions that increase their risk for pneumococcal disease.

Important Safety Information about PNEUMOVAX 23 (Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent)

You should not get PNEUMOVAX 23 if you are allergic to any of its ingredients, had an allergic reaction to PNEUMOVAX 23 in the past, or are less than 2 years of age.

Before getting PNEUMOVAX 23, tell your health care professional if you or your child are allergic to the vaccine, have heart or lung problems, have a fever, have immune problems or are receiving radiation treatment or chemotherapy, are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Talk to your health care professional if you plan to get ZOSTAVAX (Zoster Vaccine Live) at the same time as PNEUMOVAX 23 because it may be better to get these vaccines at least 4 weeks apart. Also talk to your health care professional if you plan to get PNEUMOVAX 23 at the same time as other vaccines.

The most common side effects of PNEUMOVAX 23 are: pain, warmth, soreness, redness, swelling, and hardening at the injection site, headache, weakness, and feeling tired and muscle pain. Tell your health care professional or get help right away if you have any of the following problems, which may be signs of an allergic reaction: difficulty breathing, wheezing, rash, hives.

You can get vaccinated against pneumococcal disease at any time. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist today.

Prescribing Information and Patient Information for PNEUMOVAX 23 are available at and

This information is provided by Merck.


On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)

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