This year 2,000 people aged over 65 will die from the preventable infection according to Lung Foundation Australia. Another 8,000 will be hospitalised while a further 15,000 people have to see their doctor.
Despite this, pneumococcal vaccination coverage for over-65’s has dropped this year to just 47 per cent in NSW – half of these vaccinations took place after the age of 70.
Many of us would be alarmed if our grandchildren weren’t up to date with their vaccines – so why not ourselves?
Even if you’re in good health, our immune systems decline as we get older and we become more vulnerable to infections that we previously would have been resilient against so it’s worth protecting yourself.
The Foundation is calling for anyone who smokes, has a chronic disease, immune condition, or is over 65 years to talk to their GP about whether they should have a pneumococcal vaccination, or a re-vaccination against the infection.
It’s free for over-65’s under the Government’s National Immunisation Program. A second dose is also available to people with immune conditions, chronic diseases or history of smoking five years after their first dose.
Find out more about pneumonia here.
This week is Pneumonia Awareness Week.