9. Do you need a pneumonia shot?

Pneumonia and the Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPV)

Pneumococcal disease is a serious illness that kills more people in the United States each year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined.  Pneumococcal disease can lead to serious infections of the lungs (pneumonia), the blood (bacteremia), and the covering of the brain (meningitis).  About 1 out of every 20 people who get pneumococcal pneumonia dies from it, as do about 2 out of 10 people who get bacteremia and 3 out of 10 people who get meningitis.  

Drugs which were once effective in treating pneumococcal infections have become resistant, making prevention of the disease through vaccination even more important.  PPV offers protection against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria.

Who should get the vaccination?

  • All adults 65 years of age and older
  • Anyone over 2 years of age who has a long-term health problem such as:
    • Heart disease
    • Lung disease
    • Diabetes
    • Alcoholism
    • Cirrhosis
    • Sickle Cell Disease
    • Leaks of cerebrospinal fluid
  • Anyone over 2 years of age who has a disease or condition that lowers the body’s resistance to infection, such as:
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Lymphoma, leukemia
  • Kidney failure
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Nephritic syndrome
  • HIV infection or AIDS
  • Damaged spleen, or no spleen
  • Organ transplant
  • Long-term steroids
  • Certain cancer drugs
  • Radiation therapy
  • Anyone over 2 years of age who is taking any drug or treatment that lowers the body’s resistance to infection, such as:
  • Certain Native American populations and Alaskan Natives

For additional information:

  • Discuss with your physician.
  • Contact Affinity NurseDirect at 1-800-362-9900 toll-free, (920) 738-2230 in the Fox Cities, or (920) 231-6578 in Oshkosh.

From your Internet connection:

then click on Health Resources
then click on Affinity's 22 Tips for Better Health

Or access the following links:


Adapted from: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Reviewed:  1/07
Reviewer:  rfc

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