Pneumococcal Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, not a virus. It can be spread through a cough or sneeze causing infection in many parts of the body, including lungs, ears, sinuses, brain & spinal cord, and even the blood.

Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, stiff neck, joint pains, and chills. While most cases are mild, symptoms should never be ignored. You may try to boost your immune system by eating lots of veggies and fruits, but it may not be enough. As we age, our immune system weakens. So if you have chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, or asthma, your risk may be higher. You cannot get pneumococcal pneumonia from the vaccine because it doesn’t contain live bacteria and you don’t need it every year.

So what can you do? See your doctor to learn about vaccination options right for you. This shot or vaccine is covered by Medicare. Typically there are 2 shots given apart from each other to fight against different strains of the bacteria. See P48 in “2022 Medicare & You.” There are two types of pneumococcal vaccine:

1. CDC recommends PPSV23 for o All adults 65 years or older o People 2 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions o Adults 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes

2. CDC recommends PCV13 for o All children younger than 2 years old o People 2 years or older with certain medical conditions o Adults 65 years or older may discuss with their clinician to receive PCV13 Some groups may need multiple doses or booster shots. Talk with your or your child’s clinician about what is best for your specific situation.

Information sourced from: CDC/Web MD/ American Lung Association