Should I Get the Pneumonia Vaccine Every Year?

  • Medical Author:
    George Schiffman, MD, FCCP

    Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. degree with High Honors in biology from Hobart College in 1976. He then moved to Chicago where he studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He attended Rush Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1982 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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Ask the experts

I'm 50 years old and in fairly good health. Should I have a pneumonia shot every year?

Doctor's response

Pneumovax (pneumococcal vaccine) is often referred to as the "pneumonia shot". It helps protect against the most common bacterial cause of pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumoniae, often referred to as Pneumococcus, but does not protect against other types of pneumonia. This vaccine is indicated for healthy, immunocompetent (meaning that their immune systems are functioning properly) adults 50 years of age or older. The Pneumovax 23 covers twenty three different variants of the pneumococcal bacteria. In healthy adults, revaccination is not indicated (necessary). Patients with underlying chronic disease should probably be revaccinated every 5 years. An annual flu shot (influenza vaccine) is probably also indicated.

Medically reviewed by Robert Bargar, MD; Board Certification in Public Health & General Preventive Medicine

REFERENCE:

"Epidemiology, pathogenesis, and microbiology of community-acquired pneumonia in adults"
UpToDate.com


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Reviewed on 9/15/2017

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