What Are the Benefits of Flu and Pneumonia Shots? | Family Health, Senior Health

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What Are the Benefits of Flu and Pneumonia Shots?

Having the flu means more than just a few days in bed. In the U.S., more than 200,000 people are hospitalized every year and up to 56,000 people die each year from flu-related causes1.

Plus, having the flu increases your chance of getting pneumonia. For U.S. adults, pneumonia is the most common cause of hospital stays other than women having babies. It is also the chief cause of death for children under 5 years of age2.


Prevention is key! Now that flu season is here, it is very important for you and your family to get your flu shots. You should also discuss the pneumonia shot with your doctor, as some groups should receive both shots.


Who should get a flu shot?
Everyone ages 6 months and older can get a flu shot — except for those with a history of an allergic or other reaction. Every flu season is different, so you should get a flu shot every year!


The following groups are strongly advised to get an annual flu shot because they are at higher risk of getting sick or they live or work with high-risk groups3.

  • Family members and caregivers of children younger than 6 months
  • Anyone with a chronic disease or weak immune system
  • Adults age 50 and older
  • Pregnant women
  • Nursing home residents


You should get a flu shot by the end of October, but getting a flu shot makes sense at any time during flu season. The flu season often peaks between December and February, but it can last as late as May.


What about the pneumonia vaccine?
You may be able to skip the pneumonia shot if you’re a healthy adult between ages 18 and 50. But the following groups should get a pneumonia shot because they are at higher risk of getting sick:

  • Children younger than 2 years old
  • All adults 65 years or older
  • Anyone with certain medical conditions or risk factors

If you and your doctor decide that you need a pneumonia shot, you can get it at any time of the year. If it’s flu season, you can even get a pneumonia shot at the same time you get a flu shot.


Are there any side effects of flu and pneumonia shots?
Some people might feel soreness at the shot site or experience mild side effects from these shots. And some people who get these shots may still get sick.


If you get the flu or pneumonia within two weeks of getting the shot, you were probably exposed to the virus right before or right after your shot. Still, the flu and pneumonia shots have been shown to ease symptoms in people who get the shots but still get sick.


Where can you get these vaccines?
You can get your flu or pneumonia shot at your doctor’s office, local pharmacy or clinics. If you need help finding a shot spot, visit vaccinefinder.org.


It’s okay if you aren’t sure about the flu and pneumonia shots. Talk to your doctor, and they can answer any of your questions. But don’t forget! The best protection against the flu and pneumonia are shots!

  1. https://www.webmd.com/vaccines/flu-vaccine-tip-sheet https://www.webmd.com/lung/pneumococcal-vaccine-schedule#1
  2. https://www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/resources/top-pneumonia-facts.pdf
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/pneumo/public/index.html


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