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Pneumonia Vaccine Doesn't Work for Elderly

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Pneumonia Vaccine Doesn't Work for Elderly
 
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5/1/03- 78-year-old Frank McJannet says he was very surprised when a bout of pneumonia landed him in the hospital last fall. Surprised, because he had gotten the pneumonia vaccine.

Frank McJannet, Seattle: "You get the shot just so you don't get the problem with the disease,
whatever it happens to be. And this one didn't work out."

Many seniors get the pneumonia vaccine when they get their flu shots. But group health researchers just concluded a major government study of 47,000 people over 65. They found those who expected protection against pneumonia from the vaccine, didn't get it.

Dr. Lisa Jackson, MD, Group Health: "We looked at all pneumonia in this population, and didn't find any difference between person's who had the vaccine and those that hadn't."

Infants fared much better. A second study shows a different pneumonia vaccine, recently available to babies, cut the rate of pneumonia in toddlers by almost 70%. But this vaccine hasn't been shown to be effective for older kids or adults. So what should seniors do who want to protect against pneumonia? Vaccine researcher Dr. Lisa Jackson says they still need to roll up their sleeves for the pneumonia vaccine. Research shows it does protect against a rare but nasty bloodstream infection.

 

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