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Is the new pneumonia vaccine better?

January 01, 2013

Q. I heard there is a new pneumonia shot. Is it better than the old one?

A. The older pneumonia shot is the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. It's recommended for all men over age 65 and anyone with certain medical conditions, such as lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, and problems with the immune system. The vaccine protects against 23 kinds of pneumococcus, which is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia. Vaccination might not prevent you from ever getting pneumonia, but it could keep you out of the hospital and prevent the infection from spreading to your brain or bloodstream.

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