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Pneumonia prevention

2-minute read

Vaccinations can help prevent some types of pneumonia. Pneumonia can be very serious for some people. It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about whether vaccination is recommended for you or for you children.

One vaccination that reduces the risk of pneumonia is the pneumococcal vaccine. Pneumococcal vaccines are free in Australia under the National Immunisation Program for babies at 2, 4 and 12 months. Also for people considered to be at risk of getting pneumococcal disease, including people aged 65 years and over, children with chronic medical conditions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 50 or who have certain medical conditions.

You can also consider getting vaccinated against influenza. Pneumonia is one of the possible complications of influenza. A new influenza vaccine is available every year. It’s free to some people who are at increased risk, including pregnant women, people aged 65 and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and people with certain medical conditions. For more information about the influenza vaccine, visit the Department of Health website.

Vaccination can also prevent other illnesses that can lead to pneumonia. These are all available for children as part of routine childhood vaccinations in Australia under the National Immunisation Program Schedule and include:

Not smoking will also protect against pneumonia. Eating healthily and keeping your immune system strong are other ways of protecting your health.

If you or someone near you has an infection, you can reduce the risk of passing that infection on by:

  • limiting your exposure to others while unwell
  • washing your hands frequently with soap and water
  • coughing and sneezing into a tissue then throwing it away
  • covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing, preferably with your inner elbow
  • keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth
  • avoiding sharing food, drink and utensils

Last reviewed: September 2018

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