Preventing Pneumonia

What is pneumococcal disease?

There are 3 major types of pneumococcal disease.

  1. Pneumonia (lung infection)

  2. Bacteremia (bloodstream infection)

  3. Meningitis (infection of the tissue covering of the brain and spinal cord)

Pneumococcal pneumonia is the most common type of infection in adults with pneumococcal disease. Around 900,000 Americans get pneumonia each year and 45,000 to 63,000 people die from it.

  • Pneumococcal pneumonia kills about 1 out of 20 people who get it.

  • Pneumococcal bacteremia kills about 1 out of 6 people who get it.

  • Pneumococcal meningitis kills about 1 out of 6 people who get it.

Who can get pneumococcal disease?

Anyone can get infected, but certain age and medical conditions can increase the risk of pneumococcal disease.

What are the symptoms of pneumococcal disease?

Fever, wheezing, cough, chills, rapid breathing, chest pain, loss of appetite, and feeling weak. If you are experience any of these symptoms, see your physician.

What can I do to prevent it?

The best way to prevent pneumonia is to get vaccinated. There are two pneumonia vaccines:

  • Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13 or Prevnar 13)

    • Protects against the 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria

  • Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPSV23 or Pneumovax 23)

    • Protects against the 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria

Who should get the vaccine?

It depends on your age and condition.

At age 65, you are due for a pneumonia vaccine.

  • It is recommended to receive the first pneumonia vaccine at age 65 and the second vaccine at least 1 year later.

You may need a dose before age 65 if you have one of the following conditions:

  • Chronic heart disease

  • Lung disease

  • Liver disease

  • Alcoholism

  • Diabetes

  • Smoke cigarettes

If you have an immunodeficiency disorder, HIV infection, anatomical or functional asplenia (sickle cells disease and other hemoglobinopathies) or chronic renal failure and nephrotic syndrome, you may need to receive additional pneumococcal vaccines. Contact your pharmacist or provider for your individualized schedule.

Do I need to have a prescription to get the vaccine?

  • Not at all! You can just walk in the pharmacy and the pharmacist will let you know if you’re able to get the vaccine.

How do I know if I’ve received a pneumonia vaccine before? I still don’t understand when I should get the vaccine.

  • No worries! Just visit us or call us at 791-7043. Our pharmacists will let you know exactly when to get the vaccine and answer any other questions that you may have.

You can find more information online at these links: