Pneumonia & Seniors - Should You Get the Vaccine?

In this blog, we will take a look at the pneumonia vaccine, how it works, and who needs it.
Pneumonia & Seniors - Should You Get the Vaccine?

Pneumonia & Seniors

Pneumonia is a serious concern for seniors. Recent statistics indicate that nearly one million older people are hospitalized with the illness each year. We are fortunate that today a pneumonia vaccine exists that can reduce the chances of a person contracting the disease.

In this blog, we will take a look at the pneumonia vaccine, how it works, and who needs it.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a respiratory infection that can greatly affect the lungs. The infection can be caused by bacteria or a virus. The illness causes the air sacs in the lungs to fill up with fluid or pus. For some seniors, a weakened immune system, and the presence of chronic health conditions make recovery from the pneumonia more difficult.

Sick woman blowing her nose
Nurse hand holding thermometer with high temperature result from senior female patient

Signs of Pneumonia in Seniors

The symptoms of pneumonia can vary, but include the following:

• Fever

• Cough

• Chills

• Muscle Pain

• Headache

• Weakness

The Pneumonia Vaccine – How Does it Work?

Simply put, the pneumonia vaccine introduces antigens into the body. The antigens mimic an actual infection, which primes the immune system to respond and fight against it. This helps the body resist infection from the actual illness by producing antibodies to protect it.

Vaccination for elders. A happy senior man sitting in the doctor's office and showing his arm with adhesive plaster after covid 19 vaccine.
Seniors on the seminar, looking at camera.

Which Seniors Should Get the Vaccine?

 According to the CDC, all adults over the age of 65 should get the pneumonia vaccine. Vaccines PCV15 or PCV20 are recommended for seniors who have not had it before, or don’t know their previous vaccine history.

The CDC indicates that if vaccine PCV15 is administered, it should be followed up with PPSV23 12 months later.

The second shot can be given earlier than one year (at least 8 weeks apart) if certain medical conditions are present. If the PCV20 vaccine is given, there is no reason for a second shot. If a senior received the PPSV23 vaccine, it should be followed up with a PCV15 or PCV20 in one year.

Each person should consult with their doctor or health care professional to determine the best course of action for them.

Getting the Pneumonia Shot

Taking the pneumonia vaccine is easy, and can be administered in a doctor’s office, or a pharmacy.

 Most seniors experience very few side effects from taking the pneumonia vaccine. However, others may feel tired, sore at the injection site, have headaches, or generalized muscle pain.

Over the counter medications like Tylenol, Advil, and Motrin usually are adequate to provide relief.

Any side effects from the vaccine should go away in a few days. If they do not, the senior should contact their doctor right away.

Senior caucasian man holding up shirt sleeve to show the sticking plaster after a flu jab in shoulder

Pneumonia in Older Adults

Doing all you can to protect yourself or a senior loved one from getting pneumonia is critically important. By encouraging them to stay as healthy as possible, getting the vaccine, and following up with any additional doses will go a long way toward preventing infection.

The caring and compassionate staff at Frontier Senior Living is focused on helping our residents stay healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you would like to learn more about our services, we cordially invite you to visit one of our properties, take a tour and visit with our staff.

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