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Knock Out Pneumonia

This year, Harbin Clinic wants you to be an antibody builder and knock out pneumonia by getting important vaccines! Vaccines help our immune systems build essential antibodies to fight off viruses and bacteria. Harbin Clinic providers encourage patients to discuss vaccinating against pneumonia, especially if you’re over 65 years old, under 5 years old, or have underlying health conditions.

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection that inflames one or both lungs and can cause mild to life-threatening illness in people of all ages. It is most serious in:

  • Infants and young children
  • People older than age 65
  • People with health problems or weakened immune systems

Pneumonia can be caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses or fungi found in the air. The most common bacterial pneumonia is pneumococcal pneumonia, caused by strep pneumonia. The American Lung Association states that those who are at the greatest risk for bacterial pneumonia include people recovering from surgery, those with respiratory disease or viral infection, and people who have weakened immune systems. Some signs and symptoms of pneumonia include cough, fever, shortness of breath, rapid and shallow breathing, sharp or stabbing pain in the chest, nausea and confusion.

The pneumococcal vaccine

If you fall into one of the risk groups for serious illness, the pneumococcal vaccine is an important step you can take to reduce your chances of experiencing the worst complications from pneumococcal infections including: severe illness, hospitalization and even fatalities. For most people, the vaccine is administered only once and lasts their lifetime.

We recommend pneumococcal vaccination for all children under 5 years old and all adults over 65 years old. In addition, there are certain circumstances where we encourage olderr aged children and adults to discuss the pneumococcal vaccine with their doctor.

Pneumococcal vaccine CDC recommendations for children:

  • For children under 5 years old, the pneumococcal vaccine is administered as part of their routine vaccinations.
  • Children ages 5 through 18 with certain medical conditions that increase their risk of pneumococcal disease should speak with their pediatrician about the pneumococcal vaccine.

Pneumococcal vaccine CDC recommendations for adults:

  • For those who have never received a pneumococcal vaccine, it’s recommended that adults over 65 years of age discuss with their doctor.
  • Those 19 through 64 years old with weakened immune systems or other underlying health conditions should speak with their provider about getting the vaccine.

What are underlying health conditions?

Underlying health conditions are chronic or long-term medical problems that require medication or other medical help. Diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and high blood pressure are a few common examples. Other underlying medical conditions include alcoholism, chronic heart/liver/lung disease, chronic renal failure, cigarette smoking, cochlear implant, congenital or acquired asplenia, CSF leak, diabetes mellitus, generalized malignancy, HIV, Hodgkin’s disease, immunodeficiency, iatrogenic immunosuppression, leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, nephrotic syndrome, solid organ transplants, or sickle cell disease or other hemoglobinopathies. Consult with a medical professional about your overall health and any recommended vaccines.

To discuss the pneumococcal vaccine with a provider, visit our Find a Doctor page to find a primary care medical professional near you.

Published September 26, 2021