If you are age 65 or older, ask your doctor for shots (vaccines) to help protect you from pneumonia (“noo-MOHN-yah”). Younger people with certain health conditions also need these shots.
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can cause a high fever, cough, and trouble breathing. It can sometimes lead to death, especially in older adults.
The good news is that you can protect yourself from a common type of pneumonia by getting the pneumonia shots.
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Which shots protect me from pneumonia?
You need to get 2 shots – called pneumococcal ("noo-muh-KOK-uhl") shots – to prevent pneumonia caused by certain bacteria.
- The first shot is called PCV13.
- The second shot is called PPSV23, and you'll need to get it 6 to 12 months after you get the first shot.
Most people only need to get each of these shots once.
Who needs to get the pneumonia shots?
If you are age 65 or older, get the pneumonia shots.
If you are younger than age 65, it's a good idea to get these shots if you:
- Have a weakened immune system (from cancer or HIV, for example)
- Have a health condition like diabetes, heart disease, or asthma
Find out more about the pneumonia shots.
Why do I need to get shots to prevent pneumonia?
Pneumonia can be very serious, and may even cause death. It's especially dangerous for older adults.
The type of pneumonia prevented by the pneumonia shots is caused by certain bacteria (germs) called pneumococcal bacteria. These bacteria can spread from person to person.
The pneumonia shots also protect you from other infections caused by the same bacteria, including:
- Bacteremia (infection of the blood)
- Meningitis (infections of the covering around the brain and spinal cord)
Do the shots have any side effects?
The pneumonia shots are very safe. Some people may have redness or pain where they get the shots.