What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a serious infection that can affects the lungs, causing inflammation which can make it difficult to breathe. It can affect anyone at any age. But it can be more serious in the very young, the elderly, those with long-term conditions such as diabetes and those with a weakened immune system.
What causes pneumonia?
Viruses and bacteria are the most common cause of pneumonia. The infection causes the tiny air sacs in the lungs to become inflamed.
Who can have the pneumonia vaccine?
Pneumonia can affect anyone, but some are at a higher risk of serious illness. For those people, it’s recommended to have the vaccination.
At LloydsPharmacy we offer a private pneumonia vaccination in store, for anyone over the age of 18.
How our pneumonia vaccination service works
Book online or visit your local LloydsPharmacy.
During your appointment one of our pharmacists will ask you a few questions to make sure the vaccine is right for you.
If suitable you will be given the vaccination in your local store.
How much does the pneumonia vaccination cost?
You can protect yourself for just £70. We can give you a vaccination if you’re aged 18-64, aren’t living with a long-term condition or smoke.
However, if you're over 65 or have one or more of the below risk factors, you’re eligible for the FREE NHS pneumococcal vaccination, Pneumonvax. Please speak to your GP to book your NHS funded vaccination.
- Have asthma
- Have a chronic respiratory, heart or liver condition
- Have diabetes
If you have the NHS vaccine but want additional pneumonia protection, you can have our pneumonia vaccine too. We use Prevenar 13, which is different to the NHS vaccine and receiving both vaccines provides additional assurance. You’ll need to leave around 2 to 6 months between each vaccine, depending on which one you have first. Our pharmacists will let you know how long to wait until you have your second vaccine.
What are the symptoms of pneumonia?
- A cough: which may be dry, or produce think yellow, green, brown, or blood-stained mucus (phlegm)
- Difficulty breathing: your breathing may be rapid and shallow, and you may feel breathless, even when resting
- Rapid heartbeat
- Feeling generally unwell
- Sweating and shivering
- Loss of appetite
- Chest pain: which gets worse when breathing or coughing
Less common symptoms include:
- Coughing up blood
- Feeling sick or being sick
- Joint or muscle pain
- Feeling confused and disorientated, particularly in elderly people
If you have a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell, use the 111 online coronavirus service.
If you have other symptoms of pneumonia, contact your GP or use the regular 111 online service.
Keeping you safe when you visit us
We're working hard to make sure our pharmacists can provide services, care and advice to you safely. Here are some of the things we're doing to keep you safe.
We politely ask you to wear a face covering if you’re using one of our pharmacy services
Our colleagues will be wearing PPE
We’ll be limiting the time you spend with our pharmacists in our consultation room
We'll clean the consultation room before and after every appointment
Pneumonia vaccine frequently asked questions
Why should I get the pneumonia vaccine?
If you’re in one of the high-risk groups, then it is recommended that you get the pneumonia vaccine which is available on the NHS. People outside of the risk groups can also get the vaccine privately at your local LloydsPharmacy.
What is the pneumonia vaccine and what does it protect against?
The vaccine protects against serious and potentially fatal pneumococcal infections, as well as the type of pneumonia caused by bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcal pneumonia). It’s this bacterium that can lead to pneumonia and meningitis.
How many types of pneumonia vaccines are available?
We use the vaccine Prevenar 13, which covers 13 strains of the pneumonia virus.
You may be eligible for a free NHS pneumonia vaccine, Pneumovax, if you are over the age of 65, or you have long term health conditions. We don’t provide the free NHS pneumonia service which uses the Pneumovax vaccine.Please speak with your GP for more information.
If you have received the Pneumovax vaccine already, you can choose to top up your vaccine coverage by having Prevenar-13.
How does the pneumonia vaccine work?
The vaccine stimulates your immune system which results in an immune response. This helps the body develop immune memory, offering long-lasting protection from most of the common types of pneumonia.
Although the pneumonia vaccination will not protect you against coronavirus, the WHO recommends vaccination against respiratory illnesses like pneumonia to help protect your health.**
How long does a pneumonia vaccine last? When will it take effect?
Generally, immunity given by a pneumonia vaccine tends to last a lifetime and therefore you may only need one vaccination. It can take between 2 to 3 weeks for the vaccine to become fully effective and be immunised from pneumonia.
Depending on your age or whether you have a certain health condition and the type of vaccination you have, you may need a booster every five years. It’s best to speak to your doctor or a pharmacist about which option is right for you.
How long will the in-store consultation take and how do I book an appointment?
We recommend that you book an appointment, you can do this online with our booking form or by contacting your local LloydsPharmacy. Your pneumonia vaccination will take around 15 minutes.
Am I eligible for a free pneumonia vaccine?
We do not offer free NHS pneumonia vaccinations in our pharmacies. However, you may be able to get one at your GP surgery if you are high risk and usually get the pneumococcal vaccine on the NHS.
These will include:
- Babies under 2 years old
- Adults over 65 years old
- People with long-term health conditions, like chronic kidney or heart disease
Is a private pneumonia vaccine suitable for me?
Our pneumonia vaccine is suitable for adults over 18, you won’t be eligible for our vaccination service if you:
- Are under 18 years old, including babies and children
- Have a vaccine allergy
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Have a fever or temperature at the time of your appointment
Am I at risk of pneumonia? How do I know?
Certain people are more at risk of developing pneumonia. These people are also entitled to a free NHS pneumonia jab.
- Adults aged 65 and over
- Those aged 2-64 with a health condition that increases their risk of pneumonia infections
- Anyone in an occupation that poses a risk
Your doctor will be able to tell you if you’re at risk and are eligible for an NHS pneumonia vaccine. You can also receive our pneumonia vaccine, Prevenar 13, for an added layer of protection.
Can children have the pneumococcal vaccine?
We won’t be able to vaccinate children and babies at our pharmacies. However, babies born on or after 1st January 2020 will have the vaccine as part of their routine childhood vaccinations.
Can I have the vaccine if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
Sorry, we’re unable to give you the pneumonia vaccination if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. You may want to ask your GP about the vaccine and whether you can have it once your baby has been born.
Should diabetics get the pneumonia vaccine?
According to the NHS, people living with diabetes in the UK, are recommended to have the pneumonia vaccine which is available on the NHS. Make sure to speak to your doctor or diabetic nurse about getting your pneumonia jab.
How often is the pneumonia vaccine given? How often can I have it
You don’t need a pneumonia vaccination every year. For most people, you will only need to have a single pneumonia vaccination during your lifetime. However, how often you need a vaccine will depend on your age and whether you have certain long-term health conditions.
Unlike the flu vaccine, which must be given seasonally, the pneumonia vaccine can be given at any point in the year, as you can develop pneumonia all year round. However, flu season and the winter months are a particularly important time to get vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia.
Can I get the flu vaccine and pneumonia vaccine at the same time?
Yes, you can book online or speak to a member of our pharmacy team to book your flu and pneumonia vaccine today.
Will the pneumonia vaccine give me pneumonia?
No, the vaccine will not give you pneumonia. Our pharmacy team will be able to answer any additional questions you may have at the time of your appointment.
What are the pneumonia vaccine side effects?
Like all vaccines, pneumonia vaccines can cause some side effects. Most are mild and get better in a few days. Some people don’t have any side effects of the vaccine.
The most common side effects are:
- Pain, swelling, hardness or redness where the injection has been given
- Decreased appetite
- Increase in temperature
- Muscle and joint pains
Very rarely the vaccines may cause a severe allergic reaction. This would normally happen within minutes of receiving the vaccine. Our pharmacist will be prepared to treat you appropriately should this occur.
Can I get the vaccine if I’m feeling unwell?
No. If you’re feeling unwell with a high temperature, we advise that you don’t get the vaccine. If you’ve already booked an appointment and feel unwell, please call your chosen pharmacy to cancel or change to a time when you're feeling better.
How long does pneumonia last for and can it be cured?
A pneumonia infection can last up to six months. However how long pneumonia lasts depends upon the severity of your symptoms. Pneumonia can be cured, after starting treatment your symptoms should improve, find out more about available treatments in our guide.
What happens to your body if pneumonia is left untreated?
Pneumonia affects your lungs and in turn your breathing, our pneumonia symptoms guide explains exactly what happens to your body when you get pneumonia. Pneumonia can be life-threatening if left untreated, and your symptoms are severe you may need hospital treatment. If you think you have pneumonia speak to your doctor.
What is the best medicine for pneumonia?
The best medicine and treatment for pneumonia will depend upon the severity of your condition. Our treatment guide details which medicines can help relieve pneumonia symptoms.
**World Health Organization Coronavirus Myth Busters