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The Pneumonia Vaccine for Seniors: Protecting Your Health and Wellbeing

New Pneumococcal Vaccines: Important Facts to Know - VaxCare

As we age, our immune systems become weaker, making us more susceptible to various infections and illnesses. Pneumonia, a severe respiratory infection, is one such concern that can significantly impact seniors’ health and well-being. Fortunately, science and technology have developed pneumonia vaccinations to help us proactively improve our health outcomes. In this blog post, we’ll explore why getting vaccinated against pneumonia is crucial for seniors and how it can contribute to a healthier and happier life.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection that affects the lungs, causing inflammation in the small air sacs called alveoli. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi and leads to symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing, fever, and fatigue. For seniors, pneumonia can be particularly dangerous, leading to complications and even hospitalization in severe cases. Diagnosing pneumonia is achieved by looking at medical history and a physical examination accompanied by further tests including a Chest X-ray, blood test, Sputum Culture, and CT Scans.

Seniors and Pneumonia Risk

Seniors aged 65 and older face a much greater risk of contracting pneumonia. In fact, adults 65 and older are 6.1 times more likely to contract pneumococcal pneumonia and 10 times more likely to be hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia compared to individuals aged 18-64 [1].  Age-related changes in the respiratory system, reduced lung capacity, and weakened immunity make older adults more vulnerable to infections. Additionally, seniors with chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or lung diseases are at an even higher risk of developing severe pneumonia. .

Understanding the Pneumonia Vaccine

The pneumonia vaccine, also known as the pneumococcal vaccine, offers protection against the most common bacterial cause of pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumoniae. There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines for seniors:

  1. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV13, PCV15, and PCV20): These vaccines protect against multiple strains of the bacteria and are recommended for all seniors aged 65 and older. If the PCV20 vaccination is administered, a follow-up of the PPSV23 is not required. 
  2. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23): This vaccine provides protection against 23 strains of the bacteria and is typically given to seniors who received the PCV13 or PCV15 vaccine at least one year earlier.

Vaccine Effectiveness and Why YOU should inquire about one today

While no vaccine can guarantee 100% protection, the pneumonia vaccine has proven to be highly effective in preventing severe cases of pneumonia and its complications. It can significantly reduce the risk of contracting pneumococcal diseases. According to the CDC, getting at least one shot of PCV13 prevents 3 in 4 adults 65 years and older from contracting pneumococcal pneumonia. Several studies indicate the best course of action is to sequentially vaccinate the pneumococcal vaccine to prevent the condition, especially in adults 65 and older.   

The pneumonia vaccine is generally safe, and serious side effects are rare. Mild side effects may include soreness at the injection site, mild fever, or fatigue, which usually resolve on their own within a few days. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks, especially considering the potential severe consequences of contracting pneumonia in older adults.

Do you have to pay Out-of-Pocket for the Pneumonia Vaccine?

No! If you have Medicare Part B, there is zero out-of-pocket cost for the pneumonia vaccinations. 

In Conclusion

As seniors, taking proactive steps to protect your health becomes increasingly crucial. Vaccination against pneumonia is a simple and effective way to safeguard ourselves from this potentially life-threatening infection. By staying informed about the importance of the pneumonia vaccine and consulting with healthcare professionals, seniors can take charge of their well-being and enjoy a healthier and more vibrant life in their golden years. Remember, prevention is key, and getting vaccinated is a powerful tool to stay resilient against pneumonia and its complications.

Take a proactive step taking care of your health by asking your Skippack Pharmacy team about the pneumonia vaccination today!

Schedule an appointment / learn more: www.SkippackPharmacy.com/Immunizations

Watch a video about the vaccine:

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