Pneumococcal pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs and can happen to anyone. Although it may resemble a serious cold or flu, it is its own unique illness. Pneumonia can be spread by close contact through sneezing, coughing, or direct contact with the bacteria on any inanimate objects such as door knobs, keyboards, phones, etc. The symptoms can appear quickly and may include chest pain with breathing or coughing, high fever, chills, excessive sweating, fatigue, and/or a cough with phlegm that persists and/or gets worse.
Anyone can get a pneumococcal infection, however some people are at higher risk than others. There are two different formulations of the pneumococcal vaccine, Prevnar 13® (PCV13) and Pneumovax® 23 (PPSV23), each intended for different age patients based on age and risk factors:
Prevnar 13 is recommended for all adults 65 years or older, all children younger than 5 years old, and people 6 years or older with certain risk factors.
Pneumovax is recommended for all adults who are 65 years or older and people 2 through 64 years old who are at high risk of pneumococcal disease.