Did you know that about 1 million Americans go to the hospital with pneumonia every year? Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by pneumococcal disease, which can also cause blood infections and meningitis. The bacteria that causes pneumococcal disease spreads by direct person-to-person contact. There’s a vaccine to help prevent pneumonia, but only 67% of adults 65 and over have ever gotten it.
Medicare can help protect you from pneumococcal infections. The pneumococcal shot is the best way to help prevent these infections. Medicare Part B covers the shot and a second shot one year after you got the first shot.
You may be at a higher risk for these infections if you:
- Are 65 or older
- Have a chronic illness (like asthma, diabetes, or lung, heart, liver, or kidney disease)
- Have a condition that weakens your immune system (like HIV, AIDS, or cancer)
- Live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
- Have cochlear implants or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks
- Smoke tobacco