The pneumococcal shot protects you against the bacteria called pneumococci. These bacteria are spread from person to person. They can cause dangerous infections in the blood and brain.
Pneumococcal disease can happen after an illness such as a cold or the flu. The risk of a serious infection is greater if you have a chronic disease or are over age 65. Pneumococcal disease is hard to treat. Many antibiotics that worked in past years no longer work. This makes prevention very important.
Who should have the shot?
The pneumococcal shot is recommended for all adults 65 and older. Your healthcare provider may also recommend the shot if you are younger than 65 and have a serious health condition such as lung, liver or kidney disease, sickle cell disease, or your immune system does not work well or you have had an organ transplant. Talk to your provider to see if you are at risk and should have this shot before age 65. Check with your healthcare provider before getting the shot if you:
Are ill or have a fever
Know you are allergic to the vaccine
What are possible side effects?
After getting this shot you may have redness, soreness, or swelling in the area where you had the shot. This usually lasts just a day or two. You cannot get pneumococcal infection from the shot.
What else should I know about this shot?
It takes 2 to 3 weeks after you get the shot before you are protected from getting sick.
You can get the shot at your healthcare provider’s office or at most local health departments. You can have a flu shot and a pneumococcal shot at the same time without increasing the risk for side effects. Check with your healthcare provider about other shots you may need.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth. Last modified: 2014-05-01 Last reviewed: 2014-04-29
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Pneumococcal Shot: References
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended Adult Immunization Scheduleâ€”United States â€“ 2014. US Dept of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 4/2014 from