With flu shots on every corner patients often ask me if they also need the pneumonia vaccine, the Pneumovax. This is much different than the flu shot and here is the scoop.
For adults, the pneumococcal vaccine prevents pneumonia from the bacteria Strep. Pneumoniae (in kids it causes a very serious meningitis.) The pneumococcal vaccine is indicated for adults over the age of 65 and is a one-time vaccine in most cases. If you receive your pneumonia vaccine when you are 65 years or older, you do NOT need a booster and only receive that single vaccine.
People aged 19-64 with medical conditions such as asthma, chronic lung disease, diabetes, chronic heart disease, liver disease, alcoholism, and other conditions that make you immunocompromised (lymphoma, cancer, AIDS, multiple myeloma, etc.) should also receive the Pneumovax. Pneumovax is also recommended for folks aged 19-64 taking medications such as steroids, chemotherapy or radiation. In that case, if you received the Pneumovax before the age of 65, you should receive a booster of the vaccine at age 65 years or older.
- Dr O.