New Advice for Vaccines to Stave Off Pneumonia

According to new health guidelines, the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recently recommended that people over age 65 get two separate vaccines, starting this fall, to protect against pneumonia and other infections. The new vaccine, called Prevnar 13, is recommended because of limitations with the older shot, called Pneumovax 23.

Both vaccines, which are usually administered once in older adults, are designed to protect against infections of the bacterium Streptococcus pneumonia, but they work in different ways. An estimated 900,000 people in the U.S. a year get pneumococcal pneumonia. Ask your doctor about the new vaccine and whether or not it is recommended for you. Medicare should cover the cost of flu shots and pneumonia shots. Check with your health insurance company to make sure the shots will be covered.