Health Matters Pneumonia Vaccines

This week Dr. Rick Streiffer from Health Matters talked about pneumonia vaccinations for adults.

Streiffer: “As we get older, one of the most common preventable infections that we all face the risk of is pneumonia. Pneumonia in the United States still kills or seriously cripples thousands of people every year, putting them in the hospital, keeping them out of work, or keeping them out of functioning with their family. But, pneumonia is preventable an awful lot of times today, and adults, when they reach 65, or if they have certain chronic medical conditions, need to be thinking about getting a vaccine to prevent it. Let’s talk to Dr. Jen Clem, one of our family physicians at University Medical Center.”

Clem: “Well, now there are two different types of pneumonia vaccines, and that are recommended for over age 65 in particular. There’s a new recommendation for one called Prevnar 13, which came about a couple of years ago. And then there’s also another pneumonia vaccine called Pneumavax 23 that we’ve been recommending for over age 65 for many years. So, there may be some patients who’ve had one pneumonia vaccine and need to come in to get another one. The vaccines we have around now have been around for a long time, they’re very safe, there’s almost no contra-indication or a reason not to get the vaccine unless you’ve had a prior allergic reaction. Even people who are allergic to eggs can get a pneumonia vaccine.”

Streiffer: “So, we still think of shots as something that kids get. But you know, adults too need to be thinking about keeping up with their shots and especially if you have a chronic condition, if you’ve been a smoker, if you’ve reached age 65, you are going to be a candidate for a pneumonia vaccine. So, visit your family doctor and ask him or her about that. If you want to listen to the entire interview with Dr. Clem, you can do that at the University Medical Center website or that of WVUA23. Thanks for joining us today on Health Matters, and we’ll see you next time.”

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