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Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital


Get Recommended Screening, Immunizations and Vacci

Pneumonia Vaccination

Get Recommended Screening, Immunizations and Vaccinations

By Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program
Monday, August 10, 2015

Get Recommended Screening, Immunizations and Vaccinations:  Pneumonia Vaccination

Did you know that people of any age can get pneumonia?  Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs usually caused by a bacteria or virus.  These germs often live in your mouth, nose, and in the environment.  They can cause pneumonia if they spread to your lungs. 

Signs of pneumonia can include coughing, fever, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and chest pain.  It is more than a bad cold!  It can be deadly.

Some people are at higher risk.  People with long-term health problems like heart disease, diabetes, asthma, alcoholism, and some kinds of cancer are at higher risk.  So are smokers or people who often breathe second hand smoke.

You can lower your pneumonia risk by:

  • Washing your hands often. 
  • Cleaning surfaces that are often touched (like doorknobs and countertops). 
  • Using a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze. 
  • Brushing your teeth often!  Taking care of your teeth and gums lowers the bacteria in your mouth which could cause pneumonia if spread to your lungs. 
  • Not smoking.  Smoking increases pneumonia risk at any age!
  • Getting a pneumonia vaccination.  It is not the same as the Flu shot. 

Changes to the pneumonia vaccination:

o   The Center for Diseases Control and Prevention now recommends that persons 65 and older receive 2 pneumonia vaccinations (instead of one).

o   If you have received the traditional pneumonia vaccine, contact your provider to receive the new one.

Who should get the pneumonia vaccination?

  • All adults age 65 and older.
  • Anyone who has a long-term health problem such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, or other medical conditions. 
  • Any adult 19 - 64 years of age who is a smoker or has asthma.
  • Residents / employees of nursing homes or long-term care facilities.

Where to get the pneumonia vaccination?

·         Ask your VA primary care provider/PACT team if you need the pneumonia vaccination during your next VA appointment.

·         If you are inpatient at the VA, ask your nurse if you need the pneumonia vaccination.

As a Veteran enrolled in VA healthcare, you can receive a FREE pneumonia vaccination! For more information, talk with your VA primary care provider.


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