National Immunization Awareness Month Highlights the Need for Vaccination

American Lung Association shares the importance of vaccinating against pneumococcal pneumonia, especially for those living with lung disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pneumococcal pneumonia causes an estimated 150,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States. During August’s National Immunization Awareness Month and throughout influenza season, the American Lung Association reminds adults of the recommendations from the CDC for vaccination against potentially serious lung diseases like pneumococcal pneumonia.

As a preventive healthcare measure, vaccines work by teaching the body's immune system to recognize and defend against harmful viruses or bacteria before getting an infection and reduce the likelihood of getting severely ill from certain infectious diseases. Respiratory vaccine-preventable diseases are spread from person to person, which means that if one person in a community gets an infectious disease, they can spread it to others.

Different than a bad cold pneumococcal pneumonia is a potentially serious infectious disease that may be prevented by vaccines.

  • Pneumococcal pneumonia, the most common type of bacterial pneumonia, is often spread through coughing. The symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia can come quickly and may include high fever, excessive sweating and shaking chills, coughing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath and chest pain.

“Now more than ever, we want all Americans to protect their health. Immunizations are an important and potentially lifesaving health protection, especially for older adults and those with weakened immune systems or certain chronic health conditions—like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)—who may be more vulnerable to infectious disease,” said Albert Rizzo, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for the American Lung Association. “In fact, for adults 65 and older living with COPD, the risk for contracting pneumococcal pneumonia is 7.7 times higher than their healthy counterparts, and those with asthma are at nearly six  times greater risk. I encourage everyone to speak to their doctor about immunizations to protect their health, particularly older adults.”

The American Lung Association, in partnership with Pfizer, is urging adults to talk with their healthcare provider ahead of flu season about pneumococcal vaccinations, with more information available at, or call the American Lung Association’s Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA.

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Cook
[email protected]

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