Receiving a pneumococcal vaccine (such as Prevnar®, Pnu-Immune®, or Pneumovax®) is one of the most effective ways to prevent pneumonia. While these vaccines can't prevent all cases of pneumonia, they can definitely help. Besides pneumonia shots, other vaccines used to prevent the flu or Hib disease may be used to help prevent pneumonia.
For example, one type of shot that can help prevent pneumonia is called Pneumovax (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine). This vaccine helps prevent pneumonia, bacteremia, and other conditions caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. It is typically given as a single dose and is a routine vaccination for people over the age of 65.
The vaccine works by "tricking" the body into thinking it has been exposed to the actual bacteria. Common side effects include reactions at the injection site, such as redness or pain.
(For more information on this and other shots, click Pneumonia Prevention or Pneumovax. These articles take an in-depth look at who the vaccines are used for, how to get vaccinated, and why they may not be suitable for everyone.)