Are you eligible for the government funded vaccine against bacterial pneumonia? The Lung Foundation Australia Pneumonia Awareness week is approaching (6th to 13th May) and we encourage you to ask this question to your GP!
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a bacteria which causes around 80% of pneumonia cases in Australians aged 65 years and over. Pneumonia is a potentially life-threatening disease, particularly in the older age group and in those with a lung condition such as asthma.
A healthy adult is eligible for the 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumovax-23) at age 65 years, or earlier at age 50 years for the Indigenous population. Indigenous adults also require a second dose of Pneumovax-23, 5 years after their first dose. This is funded under the National Immunisation Program and is available from your GP.
Australians who are at an increased risk of pneumococcal pneumonia, including those with immunocompromise, chronic lung disease, asthma, heart disease, diabetes and smokers are eligible for a vaccine against streptococcus pneumoniae at a younger age. In these populations, further doses of the vaccine are required for protection.
As we head into winter months, be sure to ask your GP about vaccination, to protect you against pneumococcal pneumonia. It can be given at the same time as your flu (influenza) vaccine.