Pneumococcal Pneumonia Vaccination

Pneumonia is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition caused by pneumococcal infection. It is the inflammation of the tissue in one or both lungs, caused by infection from bacteria, viruses or fungi.
Pneumococcal Vaccine
One simple pneumonia vaccine can help reduce the risk of pneumococcal pneumonia, the most common type of pneumonia. The pneumonia vaccination lasts 20 years, regardless of age, and costs £70, giving you long-term protection and peace of mind.
Am I at risk?
Anyone of any age can catch pneumonia so, to protect yourself and those around you, you should get the pneumococcal vaccine1 and try to avoid close contact with infected people.
Typical pneumonia symptoms:
  • Dry cough or coloured mucus
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Chest pain
You are at greater risk if:
  • You have flu
  • You are older than 45, or are a young child
  • You smoke
  • You have diabetes
  • You have chronic heart, respiratory, kidney or liver diseases
  • You have a suppressed immune system
Pneumonia Facts
  • It develops in up to 1 in every 100 UK adults each year2
  • It can be fatal for more than 50,000 UK adults a year3
  • Over 172,000 adult hospital admissions are due to pneumonia; over 1 in 5 occur in people under 654
  • Flu, colds and pneumonia can have similar symptoms, so it’s important to distinguish between them to avoid delay in preventing or treating them. Ask your Pharmacist for more advice, to find out what’s best for you.
  • If you have flu you could be 100 times more likely to develop pneumonia5, so it makes sense to protect yourself from both.

Find Out About Flu Jabs

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the vaccination protect against?
The pneumococcal vaccine helps prevent infections caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). These pneumococcal infections include pneumonia (lung infection), sepsis or bacteraemia (bacteria in the blood stream) and meningitis (inflammation around the brain).
How does it work?
The vaccine works by helping the body make antibodies to 13 types of the bacteria Streptococcus pneumonia. Antibodies are used by the body to recognise potentially harmful bacteria so that they can be destroyed before they cause infections. The antibodies should therefore help protect you against infections caused by those bacteria. As with any vaccine, the pneumococcal vaccination will not protect everyone who is vaccinated.
How many injections will I need?
In most cases you will only need one injection, but your healthcare professional may recommend further injections, based on your individual circumstances.
What are the side effects?
All vaccines can cause side effects, but not everyone gets them. The most common side effects associated with this vaccine include:
  • Stomach upset (such as loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhoea)
  • Headaches
  • Flu like symptoms (such as chills, fever, tiredness or aches and pains)
  • Rash or tenderness and inflammation at the injection site
Speak to your healthcare professional if you get any side effects.

1 Not suitable for pregnant women. 2 Pitman et al 2006. 3 World Health Organisation 2005. 4 Visualise Healthcare Data, IMS 01/04/02015. 5 Weinberger DM, et al.