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Get a Pneumonia Shot

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Content last updated on:
February 18, 2014

The Basics

If you are age 65 or older, ask your doctor for a shot (vaccine) to help protect you from a common type of bacterial pneumonia (“noo-MOHN-yah”). This shot is called PPSV (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine).

Pneumonia is a serious illness that can sometimes lead to death, especially in older adults. The good news is that you can prevent some types of pneumonia by getting a pneumonia shot. Most people will only need to get the shot once.

Who needs to get a pneumonia shot?
If you are age 65 or older, get a pneumonia shot. If you are under age 65, you may need a pneumonia shot if you smoke or have a health condition like:

  • A weakened immune system (from HIV, for example)
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Asthma

Find out more about who needs a pneumonia shot and when.

Are there any side effects?
The pneumonia shot is very safe. Some people may have redness or pain where the shot is given.

What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It can spread from person to person. Pneumonia is a serious illness, and it can lead to infections of the blood or the brain.

Visit these Web sites to learn more about pneumonia:

Take Action!

Take Action!

Pneumonia is a serious illness. Don’t wait – talk to a doctor or nurse about the pneumonia shot.

Call your doctor or health clinic today.
If you are age 65 or older, ask your doctor or nurse about the pneumonia shot. Remember, most people will only need to get the shot once.

What about cost?
The Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010, covers the pneumonia shot for people at high risk for pneumonia. This includes all adults age 65 and older.

Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get the shot at no cost to you.

For information about other services covered by the Affordable Care Act, visit HealthCare.gov.

Take steps to stay healthy.
When you are healthy and strong, your body is better at fighting off infections and illnesses.

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