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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health

Pneumococcal Pneu-P-23 Vaccine FAQs

The Pneumococcal Polysaccharide 23 (Pneu-P-23) vaccine helps protect against infections caused by 23 of the most common types of streptococcus pneumonia bacteria.

What is pneumonia?

  • Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by either a virus or bacteria.
  • Most cases of pneumonia are caused by the bacteria streptococcus pneumonia.
  • The virus is spread very easily by coughing and sneezing, which releases it into the air where it can be breathed in by others. It can also be passed when an infected person shakes hands or touches surfaces like doorknobs or shared toys.
  • In most people, the pneumococcal bacteria will not cause serious illness. However, sometimes the bacteria can cause serious ear, lung, blood or brain infections that can cause death in the very young, the elderly and in people with high-risk medical conditions.

Who should get the Pneu-P-23 vaccine?

  • Anyone 65 years of age and older.
  • All residents of nursing homes, homes for the aged and chronic care facilities.
  • Anyone 2 years of age and older with certain medical conditions, including
    • chronic heart, lung (not asthma unless on high-dose steroids) or kidney disease (including nephrotic syndrome)
    • diabetes mellitus
    • chronic cerebrospinal fluid leak
    • HIV infection, AIDS or other immunosuppressive diseases
    • cochlear implant recipients (pre/post implant)
    • no spleen or a spleen that does not work properly
    • sickle cell disease
    • solid organ transplant candidate or recipient / hematopoietic stem cell transplants
  • Individuals with alcoholism, smokers, illicit drug users and the homeless.
  • Most people only need a single dose of Pneu-P-23, but you may need a booster if you have certain medical conditions or if you had your first dose under the age of 65. Ask your health care provider about this.

What are the common side effects of this vaccine?

  • Some people may feel sore and swollen for a few days where the needle was given.
  • Some may have a slight fever or muscle pain.
  • Tylenol®or ibuprofen may be taken as directed to reduce discomfort or fever afterwards.
  • Children under 19 years of age must not be given ASA or Aspirin® or salicylates.

Who should not get the pneumococcal vaccine?

  • Anyone who has had a serious allergic reaction to a pneumococcal vaccine in the past.
  • Anyone with a high fever or moderate to severe illness should wait until they feel well.
  • Anyone who has a severe allergy to any component of the vaccine:
    • Pneumo 23®: purified streptococcus pneumoniae polysaccharides, phenol (as a preservative), sodium chloride, disodium phosphate, monosodium phosphate.
    • Pneumovax® 23: capsular polysaccharides, sodium chloride, phenol.
  • Anyone who
    • is under 2 years of age – another vaccine is recommended under the age of two.
    • has received the Pneu-C-13 vaccine within the last 8 weeks

What else do I need to know?

  • The best time to get the vaccine is when you turn 65 OR if you develop a high-risk medical condition.
  • It is fine to have the Pneu-P-23 vaccine at the same time as your flu shot or other vaccines.
  • If you don’t know if you have had the Pneu-P-23 vaccine before, it’s ok to receive another dose.
  • After having the Pneu-P-23 vaccine, you must wait one year before having Prevnar13®.

When should I seek medical help after immunization?

  • If you or your child experiences any unusual side effects, please seek medical attention and notify us.
  • Go to Emergency at a hospital right away or call 911 if you or your child has any of the following symptoms after immunization:
    • swelling of the face and neck, red itchy eyes
    • problems breathing, wheezing or tightness in the chest
    • hives and itchy, reddened skin

Your Record of Protection

After you receive any immunization, make sure your health care provider updates your personal immunization record. Keep it in a safe place. Please inform us of any immunizations not received here.

Pneu-P-23 Vaccine Fact Sheet printable pdf

Need More Information About Pneumococcal Pneu-P-23 Vaccine FAQs?

Talk to your health care provider or call our Immunization Program at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 221.

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All individuals ≥ 5 yrs of age are eligible to receive a COVID-19 bivalent booster dose 6 months after previous COVID-19 vaccine.

Appointments can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  


For the most up to date information on current provincial guidelines and advice in case of exposure, visit

The Ministry of Health has launched a toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.