Pneumonia vaccines help prevent invasive pneumococcal diseases. How often a person should get the shot depends on their age and overall health.
Pneumonia is an infection that causes inflammation in the lung’s air sacs. The inflammation can cause the sacs to fill with pus or fluid. Typical symptoms include cough, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing.
There are two types of pneumonia: bacterial and viral. Bacterial pneumonias are more common and result in a more serious illness.
Pneumonia is common among young children and older adults. People over the age of 65 years are most at risk for serious illness or death.
Types of pneumonia shots
A pneumonia shot will not reduce pneumonia. However, it helps prevent invasive pneumococcal diseases, such as meningitis, endocarditis, empyema, and bacteremia, which is when bacteria enter the bloodstream. Non Invasive pneumococcal disease includes sinusitis.
There are two types of pneumonia shots available. Which type a person gets depends on their age, whether or not they smoke, and the presence of any underlying medical conditions.
The two types are:
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13): Healthcare providers recommend this vaccine for young children, people with certain underlying conditions, and some people over the age of 65 years.
- Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23): Healthcare providers recommend this vaccine for anyone over 65 years of age, people with certain underlying conditions, and people who smoke.
PCV13 protects children and others against 13 different strains of bacterial pneumonia. PCSV 23 protects older adults and others who need it against 23 different strains of bacterial pneumonia.
When should a person get the shot?
How often a person should get the pneumonia vaccine depends on their age and overall health.
The CDC recommends the following schedules:
- Infants should receive the PCV13 vaccine at 2, 4, 6, and 12–15 months.
- Adults only need one dose of PCV13.
- A single dose of PPSV23 is sufficient for anyone who needs it, such as those over 65 years of age and people with underlying health conditions.
A person under the age of 65 years should receive the PPSV23 vaccine if they smoke, are receiving chemotherapy treatment, or have any of the following conditions:chronic heart disease, asthma, alcohol use disorder, HIV, Hodgkin disease
A person can get both vaccines if they have any of the above conditions or any of the following:cerebrospinal fluid leak, cochlear implants, anatomic or functional asplenia.
If people need to have both vaccines, they should get them on separate visits.