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Can the Pneumonia Shot Protect Me From Getting COVID-19?

The short answer from an infectious disease specialist

Man getting a shot to help against pneumonia

Q: I’ve heard that the pneumonia shot will help protect me against getting sick from coronavirus. Is that true?

A: The pneumonia shot can help protect you against getting really sick with other types of viruses, like influenza, but not from the coronavirus, which causes pneumonia all by itself.

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Often times, we see that influenza can lead to secondary infections with other types of bacteria that the pneumonia shot prevents. But because coronavirus is bad enough on its own, the pneumonia shot doesn’t offer protection against it.

Still, it’s important for some people to get the pneumonia shot, regardless of COVID-19. The germs that cause pneumonia are still out there, they aren’t waiting on the sidelines for coronavirus to finish its job.

The pneumonia shot is recommended for the following groups:

  • All babies and children younger than 2 years old.
  • All adults 65 years or older.
  • Adults 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes.
  • Children older than 2 and adults younger than 65 who have certain chronic diseases (those that affect the heart, lung and kidney).
  • Those who are at increased risk for certain diseases (diabetes, chronic heart, lung and liver disease) and those who have impaired immune systems.

If you fall into one of these categories, talk to your doctor about getting the pneumonia shot to help protect you from getting really sick from other viruses. But when it comes down to it, the pneumonia shot doesn’t offer protection specifically against coronavirus.

Pediatric infectious disease specialist Frank Esper, MD.

Learn more about our editorial process.

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