Should I Get the Pneumonia Vaccine Every Year?

Last Editorial Review: 9/15/2017

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


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