People aged 65 and over only need a single pneumococcal vaccination. This vaccine is not given annually like the flu jab. If you have a long-term health condition you may only need a single, one-off pneumococcal vaccination, or a vaccination every 5 years, depending on your underlying health problem.
The pneumonia shot is especially recommended if you fall into one of these age groups: Younger than 2 years old: four shots (at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and then a booster between 12 and 15 months) 65 years old or older: two shots, which will last you the rest of your life.
The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is primarily for children under age two, though it can be given to older ages, as well. The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is for adults over age 65. The pneumonia vaccine for older adults is one dose. Unlike the flu vaccine, you don’t get it every year.
If you or a loved one is age 65 or older, getting vaccinated against pneumonia is a good idea — so good that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends that everyone in this age group get vaccinated against pneumonia twice.
Getting it twice is not harmful. It’s a well-tolerated vaccine, with generally far fewer side effects than the Moderna vaccine you just took. I’ve had patients get it twice with no ill effects.
All adults 65 years of age or older should receive one dose of PPSV23 5 or more years after any prior dose of PPSV23, regardless of previous history of vaccination with pneumococcal vaccine. No additional doses of PPSV23 should be administered following the dose administered at 65 years of age or older.
CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix (recombinant zoster vaccine), separated by 2 to 6 months, to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease.
All adults 65 years or older should receive 1 dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23). In addition, CDC recommends PCV13 based on shared clinical decision-making for adults 65 years or older who do not have an immunocompromising condition†, cerebrospinal fluid leak, or cochlear implant.
5 Vaccines Recommended for Adults Age 65 and Older
Give 2 doses of PPSV23 after the PCV13 series is complete. Give the first dose at least 8 weeks after any prior PCV13 dose, then give the second dose of PPSV23 at least 5 years after the first PPSV23 dose.
The Pneumovax 23 covers twenty three different variants of the pneumococcal bacteria. In healthy adults, revaccination is not indicated (necessary). Patients with underlying chronic disease should probably be revaccinated every 5 years. An annual flu shot (influenza vaccine) is probably also indicated.
No vaccine is perfect, so it is still possible to get pneumococcal pneumonia (pneumococcus is the bacteria responsible for the most common and one of the most serious types of pneumonia) after vaccination. There are many other types of pneumonia caused by organisms other than the one covered by the vaccine.
CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for all children younger than 2 years old and all adults 65 years or older. In certain situations, older children and other adults should also get pneumococcal vaccines.
ACIP now recommends that patients have a conversation with their doctor to decide whether to get Prevnar 13. However, older adults who have a high risk for pneumococcal disease should still receive both Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23. Additionally, Pneumovax 23 is still recommended for all adults over age 65.