Age 65 or older? You’re at higher risk for pneumococcal pneumonia

(BPT) – Adults aged 65 years and older are now getting back to doing the things they love, whether that includes spending time with family, traveling or enjoying new hobbies. However, as we emerge from the pandemic, serious respiratory diseases like pneumococcal pneumonia can sideline these plans. That’s why it’s more important than ever to stay up to date on CDC recommended vaccinations.

The reality is that as people age, their immune system naturally weakens. This makes older adults more vulnerable to certain illnesses including pneumococcal pneumonia, a potentially serious bacterial lung disease that can spread through coughing or close contact with infected individuals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adults aged 65 years and older are at an increased risk for contracting pneumococcal pneumonia.

Pneumococcal pneumonia can disrupt your routine for weeks, and in severe cases, it can put you in the hospital and may even be life-threatening. Adults aged 65 years and older are over 10 times more likely to be hospitalized for pneumococcal pneumonia than those aged 18 to 49 years.

Pro Football Hall of Famer and FOX NFL Analyst Terry Bradshaw is working with Pfizer and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) to educate adults aged 65 years and older about their increased risk of pneumococcal pneumonia and the importance of vaccination to help prevent the disease.

“I live an active lifestyle between work, spending time on my ranch and being with my family. I don’t want anything to slow me down, so it’s important to do what I can to stay healthy,” said Bradshaw, who stars in a Public Service Announcement developed by Pfizer and NFID to help spread the message. “By talking to your doctor about vaccination, you can do your part to help protect yourself against vaccine-preventable diseases such as pneumococcal pneumonia.”

Getting vaccinated can help protect you from pneumococcal pneumonia. Adults aged 65 and older should talk to a healthcare provider about pneumococcal vaccination.

Fast facts about pneumococcal pneumonia

If you or a loved one is age 65 or older, here are some important things to know about pneumococcal pneumonia:

Symptoms: Fever, cough, shortness of breath and chest pain are common symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia, according to NFID. Symptoms can appear suddenly and may last for weeks.

Age risks: Adults aged 65 years and older are over 10 times more likely to be hospitalized for pneumococcal pneumonia than younger adults aged 18 to 49.

Condition risks: Chronic health conditions, such as asthma, COPD, diabetes and heart disease, further increase risk for pneumococcal pneumonia, according to the CDC.

Vaccination: Getting vaccinated can help protect you from pneumococcal pneumonia. Pneumococcal vaccination is available at many doctor’s offices and local pharmacies.

“If you’re 65 or older, you’re at increased risk of getting this potentially serious disease, even if you’re healthy,” said Bradshaw. “Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about vaccination to help prevent pneumococcal pneumonia.”

According to NFID Medical Director William Schaffner, MD, “Educating adults aged 65 years and older, who are at increased risk, about how vaccination can help protect them against the disease is especially important.”

To learn more about pneumococcal pneumonia visit