Benefits of the Pneumonia Vaccine
All vaccines used today are safe, effective, and can improve our quality of life for years to come. While there are no specific vaccines available to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, COPD, and asthma, there are vaccines available to reduce the risk of infection and serious complications¹.
Although many people call it the pneumonia vaccine, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine offers more than just protection against pneumonia. With one dose, your chances of getting diseases such as pneumonia, otitis media, and meningitis greatly decrease. In turn, this makes it less likely for you to pass on an infection to your friends, family, and colleagues.
Can Individuals With Immunodeficiency Take the Pneumonia Vaccine?
Normally, a healthy immune system acts as an invisible shield against invaders that cause infections. Unfortunately, in cases of immunodeficiency or weakened immunity, the body’s natural defenses are easily overwhelmed.
Immunocompromised individuals often include people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, or those taking immunosuppressants. Those who have undergone an organ transplant or have removed their spleen are also part of this group. Additionally, infants and adults over 65 years old are typically more susceptible to pneumococcal infections.
Can these groups of people get the pneumonia vaccine? The answer is a resounding YES. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the pneumonia vaccine is recommended for children and adults who are unvaccinated and have any of the following conditions2, 3:
For those who need to undergo surgery to remove their spleen (splenectomy) or get a cochlear implant, it is important to receive the vaccine before the operation. In order to produce enough antibodies needed to prevent pneumococcal infections, it is ideal to get the pneumonia vaccine at least 2 weeks prior¹. Because influenza can increase the risk and severity of pneumococcal infections and vice versa, both the pneumonia vaccine and flu shot can be given during the same visit1, 4.