Q:

Does a pneumonia shot prevent lung problems?

A:

Quick Answer

The risk of getting pneumonia is significantly reduced but not always prevented by getting a vaccine, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumonia is an infection that can cause problems with the lungs such as difficulty breathing and fluid-filled air sacs, according to WebMD.

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Full Answer

There are two pneumococcal vaccines available in the United States: PCV13 and PPSV23. Vaccine information statements on the CDC website state that PCV13 protects against 13 strains of bacteria that can cause pneumonia, whereas PPSV23 protects against 23 strains of bacteria. There are 90 strains of bacteria known to cause pneumonia, so the available vaccines do not provide complete coverage. The CDC recommends that infants, toddlers, and some older children and adults with certain health conditions receive PCV13. PPSV23 is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older, anyone who has certain long-term health problems, anyone who is immunocompromised and anyone who is a smoker or has asthma.

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