You may not remember it but when you were little you probably got a pneumonia vaccine. As you get older, you’ll probably get another one once you become 65 or older. Those are the main high risk groups for pneumonia and other upper respiratory diseases. But you probably haven’t thought about who else can benefit from the pneumonia vaccine and why.
There are two different pneumonia vaccines on the market: Prevnar 13® (PCV13) and Pneumovax® (PPSV23). When you’re a child, you’re given PCV13 over the course of four doses by your primary care physician. For individuals over 65 years old, it’s suggested that they receive the PCV13 if they have not previously received it, followed by the PPSV23. This helps prevent pneumonia in the long run as your immune system weakens. However, adults between 19 and 65 can also need the pneumonia vaccine. Individuals that are in high risk groups such as individuals with Sickle Cell, cochlear implants, HIV, Leukemia, and other immune system-compromising conditions to name a few, and should receive a PCV13 if they have not previously had the vaccine.
What’s neat about the pneumonia vaccine is your primary care physician can use the PPSV23 to test your immune system. For individuals with chronic infections and sinus problems, doing a blood test checking antibodies, then a PPSV23 vaccine, followed by another antibody check can show if your immune system is responding to infections. Plus after the vaccine, you are less likely to pick up common upper respiratory infections than prior to it. If you need your pneumonia vaccine because you never received it or feel it would benefit you to test your immune system, contact your primary care physician at Medics USA today.