Pneumonia Jab: Has anybody had the one... - British Heart Fou...

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Pneumonia Jab


Has anybody had the one-off pneumonia jab offered by the GP surgeries? I was offered it after the flu jab but I had to make another appointment for the pneumonia jab but the queue for the reception was really long so I left it. But with the coronavirus on its way it might be a good idea to get it done.

77 Replies

I had the vaccination in April last year, it's a one off, no side effects whatsoever.

If you have lung issues I believe you have it every 5 years.

My husband has had it twice, 1st time because he was in a coma on life support & pneumonia is common in that situation. 2nd time was at the GP surgery who thought he should have it again just in case.. He never had any problem with it. If you're offered it take it, my sister was hospitalised with severe pneumonia a few weeks before Xmas, an x ray just over a week ago has shown she still has it.!

in reply to Lezzers

Was your sister still showing symptoms? Mild or severe? I had pneumonia (after bypass) acquired in hospital a few weeks back. Had course of high level antibiotics two of the fluroquinones. Interested to know as don't think breathing is quite right but could just be tightening of sternum as it heals? Never had the jab but may consider it now.

in reply to JR55

She didn't appear to be showing any symptons other than she was very pale, almost drained of colour but her lungs are not brilliant anyway due to scarring & asthma.

A couple of days after she had her recent x ray results she did have a sore throat and her chest was a bit tight, so GP gave her antibiotics. She had been treated very aggressively with intravenous & oral antibiotics when she was in hospital as she also had a blood disorder.

She's got to have more bloods & another x ray in 6 weeks.

Do you have a heart nurse you can speak to about your breathing or maybe speak to the BHF nurses.

in reply to Lezzers

Have cardiac appointment with consultant Thursday. If it gets worse (not actually so bad just frustrating re limiting exercise) I will contact someone before then at my local hospital. After reading your post I was concerned that minor (compared to my full blown pneumonia) symptoms could be low level pneumonia waiting to resurface! I had blood tests at GPs last Thur (full blood count etc) so they should be back soon. I am hoping x-ray will be standard post op check at some point to see if sternum is healing well and that would show lungs too which is how they discovered my pneumonia. Good luck to your Sister.

MilkfairyHeart Star

I was given the pneumonia vaccine with my first flu vaccine many years ago when I became a heart patient.

I had no problems.

I agree with you it is probably a good idea to get it done as the coronavirus has now arrived.

The pneumonia vaccine is protection against bacterial pneumonia. It will not protect you against viral pneumonia, like the coronavirus-related pneumonia that some people are experiencing when they contract the coronavirus. Unfortunately, bacteria vaccines don't protect against viral diseases. This is the same as how a tetanus, cholera or typhoid vaccine (all are bacteria) does not protect you from the flu (a virus).

MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to ShootingStars

Yes agreed.

However you can develop a secondary bacterial infection following a viral infection.

It is still important to be protected against bacterial pneumonia and flu.

Lots of tissues and handwashing remains our best protection against the coronavirus

Yes. Of course it is important, not just because the Coronavirus has arrived. Everyone at risk for pneumococcal diseases and the flu (which is everyone) should have already received inoculations. If a person contracts Coronavirus, pneumococcal diseases and the flu are the least of their worries.

MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to ShootingStars

Thanks ShootingStars

Your information about the importance of taking up the offer of vaccination against flu and pneumonia has been very helpful.

You're welcome Milkfairy. I hope that all of those who are suffering from health issues that are at additional risk if they contract the flu or pneumonia have healthcare providers that understand the importance of inoculations in general, and particularly PPSV23 for pneumonias.

Pneumonia is not the only illness that streptococcus baceraie serotypes cause. They also cause sinus infections, ear infections, meningitis (infection and inflammation of meninges, the membrane that protects the brain and spinal cord), and bacteremia, a blood stream infection caused when bacteria enters the blood stream from an injury, skin infection, surgical procedure, UTI that's become a kidney infection and causes sepsis, contaminated injection or skin at injection site. By the time we've reached adulthood, who hasn't had a sinus infection or ear infection? Who hasn't had some degree of bacteremia which likely went unnoticed because the immune system was still strong and was capable of fighting off the infection? Years and many infections, injuries, surgeries, or chronic illnesses later, that same immune system is no longer strong enough to easily fight off the bacteria or virus it previously did.

I wish I'd have been given the opportunity to have the Pneumovax23 vaccine many years earlier! I can only imagine how much healthier I'd have been. Recent lab results show a substantial increase in immune system markers almost up to the bottom number of range. This is a very meaningful improvement! Previously one particular immune system marker decreased every time the group was tested for the last four years. In the 10 months since I received Pneumovax23, I have not been this healthy for this long in the last 25 years. I have to wonder that if I'd have received this vaccine long ago, maybe all of the illnesses and infections I've had over the years would not have lead to an autoimmune disease? I will never know. Based on vastly improved health over 10 months and recent lab results to support an improved immune system since receiving Pneumovax23, at a minimum I'd have been ill a lot less, which could have prevented the acquisition of autoimmune disease.

Had it with the flu vaccine back in October. Was offered it out of the blue - I was just expecting the flu vaccine (good organised surgery :-) ). No issues.

Yes had it 2 years back you want to go straight back join the queue we are lucky in this country to be offered it and it’s free Take care xxx

Adding my voice to the chorus here. I got both jabs last autumn. No side effects from either and while I know the flu jab doesn't protect me from the novel coronavirus, or even any flu strain not in the vax I got that day, the pneumonia jab might prevent pneumonia if I should be so unlucky as to contract the coronavirus.

It's the pneumonia that's killing people who get the virus from what I'm hearing from doctors interviewed in China so at the least having had the jab is giving me a bit of peace of mind.

Better to have it than to not and regret it later.

I was offered it by an immunologist. He confirmed that some people can suffer moderate to severe side-effects, and so he said it would have to be my choice. I chose not to.

in reply to Londinium

I think the operative word here is "some", obviously everyone reacts differently and the choice is always yours to make

in reply to Lezzers

Yes, I know what the operative word is, as I was the one who wrote it. Instead of repeating what I said back to me, maybe you could provide your own experience for Howard.

in reply to Londinium

I already have

in reply to Lezzers


in reply to Londinium

☺ Thank you

Which vaccine is he referring to? There are several types and by several manufacturers. All are not equal. One offers protection against 13 serotypes or strains, and the other against 23. There is no vaccine or medication that does not potentially cause side effects in some of the people, some of the time. Each of these vaccines are no exception. I have had one of these shots. It did not hurt to receive the tiny little jab. I did not even have a sore shoulder the next day. I did go to the gym and used my arms to lift weights immediately after inoculation. Perhaps that is why my shoulder was not sore, because I utilized the muscle and distributed the vaccine quickly.

I decided to take the risk of side effects because it was more important for me to try build antibodies to the 23 strains of streptococcus bacteriae that cause pneumonia, meningitis and blood infections. I was very happy to have no side effects and then to later test for antibodies of the 23 serotypes and see how much my protection had improved. Up until that time, I tended to become ill a lot. Since having that vaccination, I have not gotten sick easily like I used to.

HiddenThis reply has been deleted
in reply to Hidden

All vaccines do not hold the same risk levels. There are 4 main types of vaccines: live, inactivated, recombinant/polysaccharide and toxoid. Live vaccines have the greatest chance of reaction. Chickenpox, MMR, Inactivated are killed vaccines. They offer the least amount of immunity and possible reactions They also usually require a series of shots. , Flu, Rabies, Polio, Hep A are all inactivated vaccines. Recombinant/polysaccharide/conjugated vaccines use specific pieces of a particular virus or bacteria. HPV, Shingles, pneumococcal diseases, Hep B are all this type of vaccine. They create a strong immune response against the disease, but this does not mean that some receiving these shots will necessarily have strong reactions to them.

Toxoid vaccines contain toxins made by bacteria, such as tetanus and diphtheria vaccines. Immunity is the against part of the bacteria that causes the disease, the toxin. Botox is also a toxin (harmful substance) but it is not a vaccine.

Immunity and ability to fight off disease is much more complex than just taking vitamin D. Unfortunately optimal vitamin D levels won’t save someone from diseases if they have a compromised immune system. If the body does not have antibodies built up for diseases it can encounter, such as the 23 streptococcus bacteriae serotypes and their is immune dysfunction, there is potential of getting pneumonia, meningitis or a blood infection.

Their compromised immune system could be in the form of a serious chronic illness, an autoimmune disease, routinely having an assortment of infections or illnesses, an immunoglobulin deficiency, or all of they above. If someone routinely gets sick and has a lot of infections, they might have an immunoglobulin deficiency. Immunoglobulins have various jobs in fighting off disease. IgM, IgG, IgA are the immunoglobulins that are easy to check. It is important to know if this is the root to the frequent illnesses and infections, so the person is treated properly. If no antibodies have been built up to various diseases and there is an immunoglobulin deficiency, then this person will have a very hard time trying to fight off the disease.

I would love it if we could all just optimize our D and we’d be covered. I have optimal D, I’ve had illnesses, I have a compromised immune system, so I have to do everything I can to protect myself from getting sick.

I didn't say that we'd all be "covered" if we "just" optimised Vit D3.

As for vaccines, I'll go with the views of the two that I consulted.

in reply to Hidden

Totally agree with you and this clear and concise statement

given it s couple of years ago along with flu jab

Yes I had it a couple of years back because I have pulmonary hypertension as a result of my heart issues. No problems whatsoever.

Hi Howardl. The pneumonia jab is protection against bacteria, not a virus. It is the Streptococcus Pneumoniae Bacteria that the shot protects you against, and it is not related to the Coronavirus, a virus. The Wuhan Coronavirus is caused by the Novel Coronavirus, called 2019-nCoV. The pneumonia that can be caused by the Coronavirus is virus-related pneumonia, not bacterial pneumonia.

The importance of this Pneumonia/Pneumococcal Vaccine is to protect yourself against pneumococcal bacteria that can cause pneumonia, meningitis or blood infections, all of which can kill people if they do not have a strong immune system or if they have compromised or damaged organs. If you have low resistance to infections due to compromised immune system or have long standing health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney, liver, or lung disease, or any other serious health condition, this vaccine could save you from becoming very very ill, or even passing.

Is this the PCV13 Pneumococcal Conjugate, or is it the PPSV23 Pneumococcal Polysaccaride Vaccine? The PCV13 only vaccinates against 13 strains of streptococcus pneumoniae, while the PPSV23 vaccinates against 23 strains of streptococcus pneumoniae. Pneumoccocal disease is caused by this bacteria. If you are only given a PCV13, a second shot of PPSV23 should be give at least a year later. Many people with heart disease and other major diseases skip the PCV13 and just get PPSV23 vaccines so that they have the best coverage. Pneumococcal disease can strike at any age. Those at greatest risk of pneumococcal diseases are people with heart disease; kidney, lung, or liver diseases; diabetes, other major illness, children under age 2, people 65 and older, and people who smoke.

A brand name of PPSV23 is called Pneumovax 23. It is available in the UK. Another vaccine from a different manufacturer is Pnu-Immune 23. If either of these are the vaccine you were offered, they protect against 23 strains of pneumococci, the bacteria that causes pneumonia, meningitis and some blood infections. It very much worth considering receiving this vaccine you already haven't had it. If you have never had a pneumonia vaccine, your GP or an immunologist can test you for Streptococcus Pneumoniae IgG Antibodies 23 Serotypes, to see if you have developed any antibodies against the 23 serotypes or strains, or you can bypass the antibody test and go straight to the vaccine. If you have not had the vaccine, there's a good chance that you are not protected against all 23 strains. Some adults reach into their 50's and they only have one or two antibodies of the 23 built up to protect them from these illnesses. Such people are at risk from the disease. That is why in some populations everyone over age 50 with serious health issues receives a PPSV23 vaccine. Some people report having a sore shoulder for a day or two, or others have no soreness at all. If you think you have any other possible side effect, always see your doctor. 6 weeks after the vaccination, the Streptococcus Pneumoniae IgG Antibodies 23 Serotypes are retested. A response rate to 50% of the serotypes at or above the reference value is considered an acceptable response to the vaccine. If there is not at least a 50% success rate, then additional tests investigate the cause of the poor vaccine response and look at the cause of immunodeficiency (humoral, plasma, or other defects).

Thank you , this is extremely helpful and informative. I have a mechanical mittal valve and I suffer of asthma and I have done the PPSV23 vaccine a few weeks ago. The nurse told me that in 5 years I will be re assessed and most likely I will have it done again.

Thank you for sharing all these information very useful

You’re welcome! That’s a good thing that you got it. Reassessed in 5 years?? So if you don’t develop any antibodies or enough, you won’t know until you get really really sick? Can you ask them to check for the antibodies of the 23 serotypes so you know your status ?

Oh I see, i will ask them so hopefully it will not be necessary re do it.

Thank you again

You're very welcome. :-) Tell them you need to check to see if the vaccine was effective or not now, and not in 5 years. The 23 serotypes are checked 6 weeks following your inoculation to see if you developed the antibodies. If you did not develop antibodies for at a minimum of 50% of the 23 serotypes, then they need to take action now. You might need a second jab or other treatment. The problem with waiting 5 years for reassessment is that you might have inadequate antibodies following the jab, and this would put you at ample risk of potentially getting very sick.

Oh wow I didn't know all that.

I will request what you recommended to my gp.

I wish they would have told me that themselves, anyway feel lucky I have now the right information

Thank you again

Can i be very rude and ask how you gained so much knowledge, not only about vaccines. Is this due to your own research. I fi d it difficult to find right info about my various health problems

Hi Jaybird19. That's not being very rude at all. For starters, I am the type of person who is a lifelong learner. That is my innate instinct. Since I was a child I have always been inquisitive and have sought to be informed and educated on all types of subjects. As a child we did a lot of our own veterinary work, which I learned from my father, and that is where some of my interests started. I have many years of college behind me and I hold degrees. I am in the healthcare industry. If I had gone a different direction I would still be well informed because that is how I naturally am.

I am well informed about PPSV23 because it was recommended that I receive this vaccination. I do not ever agree on any lab test, diagnostics, medications or inoculations that a healthcare provider tells me I need until I fully understand all angles of their recommendations, and then I agree that it's necessary. Before I could agree to receive PPSV23 I needed to fully understand the science behind it and how it applied to my body, my lab results, and my future. I read all the literature about flu vaccinations in general and then specifically about PPSV23 before I could make a the decision to get the shot. That is why I know so much about it.

In regards to finding the right info about your various health problems, I know what it's like when you are in need of the right answers, are not sure that doctors are telling you the correct things and are steering in a direction that your gut instinct tells you is not quite right. You have to be your own advocate and be as informed as you possibly can be. It's your option and choice on how informed you are. Take charge of your body and what is recommended that you do with it. Ask lots of questions. Write them down and write down the answers you receive. Remember that you can say no or that you want to think about it to any doctor if you do not understand their recommendations. If the doctor makes you feel uncomfortable, then find another one. You have the right to ask as many questions as you feel necessary and to receive accurate answers.

Thank you for so much info. Like you i always want to know why and how. When i started work I was taught to always ask but tend to find it difficult with doctors. This I suspect is a handdown from working in the NHS all my life where doctors where "always right". Experience tells me this is not the case. . I didnt get to uni but trained at night classes held at Q.E Medical School. My only claim to fame ! Seriously , it did take 7 years and a number of exams practicals and vivas to qualify. I did not really enjoy this part at all . Learning never ends in medecine. We did other courses when released for them too All this of course was soon out of date. Especially Virology. Now i find a lot from this site that I never knew at work . It is 20 yrs since i retired too. I have forgotten such a lot.

Nowadays asking questions is not encouraged. Not enough time. My resp consultant was running 1 hr late at 11.30 . No time to listen then

One GP said "shall we move on" before i realised that I was being dismissed, and my 10 mins was not up! I now go armed with list of questions on paper and tick them off. This does make me more concise. Its not their fault . It is survival these days to do what they can in the limited time available.

The internet is very useful . But I was a microbiology technologist in Public Health and didnt know about PPSV23. I had not even heard that term before.

So as I said I learn from this web site and will continue to ask as many questions as I am able.

Thank you for answering my question

As we know, there is no vaccine for the coronavirus virus yet and the current flu jab is for a different strain altogether and so will have no effect. The NHS still recommends having the flu jab for everyone.

in reply to Pete1

They are both viruses, but they are two totally different viruses. Influenza and Coronavirus are not different strains of the same virus. Both Influenza and Coronavirus are of the Classification Virus, but that's where similarities stop. They are of different Order, Family, Genus and Subgenus.

Scientists are working diligently and hope to create a vaccine for Coronavirus within the next few months. By then, well I don't want to even think about what it could be like in a few months. :-( There are so many bare hands in photos of people in highly contagious areas. None of them are thinking clearly about how this is transmitted. If I was there, I would not ever have bare hands in public.

Ask your surgery if you can still have it

I've been offered it twice with the flu jab but each time they have run out, you should have joined the que as harder to get than contraband 😂😭. I'm still waiting for the nurse to contact me when they have a supply.

It was suggested to me recently. I'm waiting for my GP surgery to arrange an appointment for me.

I’ve had the flu jab, the shingles jab and the pneumonia one but I’ve still been very ill for the last 5 weeks with flu like symptoms. 3 lots of antibiotics and 4 of steroids. I am Diabetic, chronic Asthmatic, had a HA, compromised immune system and various other serious health problems. Pretty amazed I’m still here. It might just be that I had the pneumonia jab that tipped the balance so if it’s offered to you do think hard about having it.

Had mine several years ago. Flu jab in one arm pneumonia jab in the other! No side effects.

It certainly won’t do you any harm but like the flu jab, it doesn’t have 100% protection against pneumonia. I had the pneumonia jab and contracted Legionnaires Disease, an atypical pneumonia, about 4 years ago. Just a couple of weeks ago, I contracted pneumonia which then sent my heart berserk with tachycardia of up to 170 and atrial fibrillation in spite of all the heart medications that I am on! So, it is not a guarantee that you won’t get pneumonia and I doubt that it would be effective against coronavirus but I would encourage you to have the protection it offers anyway.

in reply to MelB51

I've had both flu and pneumonia jab this season. No side effects. Last year I contracted flu, despite taking flu jab. It was a mild case, but i developed pneumonia. First time since my ablation (2 years prior) that afib reared its ugly head. So when offered this year? I grabbed both jabs gratefully.

Yes - a one off, no pain, no funny stuff afterwards. But pneumonia is a description of a broad spectrum of "chest infections". The jab does not mean that you cannot get chest infections that some doctors will call pneumonia. I speak with some experience as just such a mean infection messed up our Christmas! But the jab is one more defence against something that we don't need.

Exactly my thinking on the pneumonia jab especially - I know it doesn't make me 'bullet proof' but it does offer a bit more defence and I'll take any defence I can.


I was discussing this week at work

My GP surgery has not offered it

I believe I should have it as I have heart failure and pulmonary hypertension and Permanent AF and leaky valves

Is it something that all GP surgeries should offer? I have had the flu jab for a few years

in reply to shwills

Yes, you should be offered it. Do you have a heart nurse who could arrange it for you? If not, speak to your GP.

in reply to Lezzers


Yes a heart failure nurse

I will call her

My GP surgery has been taken over recently after years of a nightmare service

in reply to shwills

Hopefully it'll improve now. I always shudder when I hear about the poor service of some GP & hospital, my sister is having these sort of issues at the moment.

in reply to shwills

I asked when I was diagnosed with PH on top of my heart issues and low level chronic kidney disease (that now seems to be in reverse now heart and AF is better controlled). So my GP didn’t offer but gave me it when asked (free). I’ve been blithely commenting all winter how I have such a naturally better immune system than the rest of my family, who have all fallen like flies and suffered very badly from various bugs this winter, (even spent 23/24 Dec in overloaded A&E with dad) and now I’ve been reminded I had this jab and wonder if it’s helping.

I was told it was a one off but read elsewhere top up might be required if disease (not age) related reasons.

So in short I’d just ask the question.


I’m 71 now and 2 years ago I had both my flu and pneumonia jabs at the same time with no problem whatsoever. Had one jab in each arm. Last year I had the flu jab and shingles jab together and no problem. There’s no antidote for this horrible new virus but the clever people think they should get it sorted within 4/6 months.

I had it 5 yrs ago. No side effects whatsoever. It's free on NHS so why not have it. We're lucky to get the chance of extra precaution

If you are being offered the pneumonia jab then take it - it is worth it and it is free and it helps build up essential antibodies in your body against pneumonia and your doctor thinks you should have it and should benefit from it. As of "this moment" there is no immunisation available against the current coronavirus according to the World Health Organisation.

Both myself and my wife had the pneumonia jab together. Less than a week later my Wife was in an emergency situation with Pneumonia which looked a lot like Sepsis. Our GP just said it must have been a different type of Pneumonia !!!

I would just like to say I was fine and didn't contract any type of illness either from the Vaccine or my Wife !!


Hi Howard,

I would have the jab, my Wife and I having experienced the long queues for the pneumonia one at our GP's last time we opted to have them at our Tesco pharmacy, cost nothing to do that and very convenient indeed. Give yourself the best protection you can as pneumonia is not joke at all!

Hi Howard, I had the jab months ago. Also NO side effects 👍🏻

Thanks for all the comments I will try and book the jab on Monday. I’ve been receiving the flu jab for the past 5 years but this year was the first time the pneumonia jab has been offered so I thought it was something new. But after reading the comments it seems to have been around quite a while.

Hi , yes I have had the pneumonia jab, no problems worth having

Had pneumonia Jab couple of years ago, no problems. Always been a bit wary of flu jab and refused it. However, because of my medications I cannot take any cold and flu remedies so this last year I decided to ' take the plunge' and had it, thankfully no problems either. Have it done, it's just a one off and may protect you in the future.

If you don’t want to queue go to Boots the chemist for your flu, pneumonia jab etc. Takes me 5 minutes and you can make an appointment. It also takes the pressure off the surgeries

I had a couple of years ago no after effects at all.

I have had the Pneumococcal vaccine as well as the Flu one. My doctor and hospital consultant strongly recommended it because of the underlying heart condition.

Hi Howardl, I had the pneumonia jab the same time as my first annual flu jab. Not sure why you had to make a separate appointment for it? It’s a once in a lifetime jab, but it gives protection against 27 different types of pneumonia (probably not the new coronavirus though).

Various medical staff dealing with my case last summer, both in and out of hospital, said that I'd need both these jabs in future, so I will be taking their advice. In the event, I went into the surgery to have my ears syringed, and the nurse had a needle in my arm quicker than you could blink :-)

Obviously this had nothing to do with coronavirus. It's just general advice for heart patients.

I had it last year, it was recommended for older people because pneumonia is what kills us oldies off, normally as a secondary infection. No reactions, still here....

Yes had both and pneumonia and flu jab together two years ago with no problems

Always take anything that is offered to you as a compromised person. It is a bacterial protection and there is nothing that will protect you at present from coronavirus except good hygiene. When i had the pneumo vacc it was supposed to last 10 yrs but dont know how reliable that info is nowadays. The vaccine against the coronavirus is already being investigated but new vaccine usually takes a quite few months . The chinese released the info early and people have been working all hours to start producing a vaccine.

When you get to 70 they offer a shingles vaccine too. I missed that but would have it if offered now.

I had the flu jab and pneumonia jab at the same time last year after my surgery.

I'm supposed to have it because of other issues. So I had it in 2014. I asked at my GPs recently and they said I should have it every 5 years (so overdue now) but they told me there is a national shortage and they don't expect more supplies until April.

I was offered (and had) the Pneumonia jab after my 1st Flu jab in October - Top of my right arm was very sore for about 4 days afterwards from it but a small price to pay I think.

Yeah, I’m in an at risk category after having a stroke in the late 80s. Got me 2 weeks off school! I have put off having a flu jab but after my 2019 events I have had the jab. I do recommend it to anyone with similar issues to folks here.

I had it years ago, no adverse effects.

hi howard i got the pneumonia jab also last year with the flu jab but have not had the flu jab this year

Pneumococcal vaccines are vaccines against the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. Their use can prevent some cases of pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis. There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines: conjugate vaccines and polysaccharide vaccines. They are given by injection either into a muscle or just under the skin. Have it, Ron

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