As a pharmacist, I get this question often if not daily especially during flu shot season. I give hundreds of vaccines each year, and this year is no different. This year, 2020, I have seen a huge increase in flu vaccines. I have vaccinated more younger patients than ever before, but interestingly enough I have vaccinated first timers more than ever before. I think Covid-19 has a lot of people scared, and rightfully so. With the flu season creeping its way into the picture, it is more important than ever to protect yourself against the flu, but also against pneumonia. Why against pneumonia? Have you read the symptoms of Covid-19? Shortness of breath or difficult breathing, cough and fever are the hallmark symptoms of Covid-19. Do you know what the symptoms of pneumonia are? Shortness of breath, cough and fever are the hallmark symptoms of pneumonia, sound familiar? That is why it is so important that you get vaccinated for pneumonia! I might just hold onto your left leg until you agree to get vaccinated, it is just that important. What exactly is pneumonia? Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs that is most commonly caused by pneumococcal bacteria. Pneumococcal bacteria can also cause ear infections, sinus infections, meningitis (infection of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord), and bacteremia (bloodstream infection). This leads us to the next question, can anyone get vaccinated for pneumonia or do you have to be a certain age or have certain co-morbidities? The answer is, it is complicated. Even I as a pharmacist, struggle to know who qualifies and who does not.

Lets start with Prevnar 13. What is Prevnar 13? Prevnar 13 protects against 13 types of bacteria that can cause pneumococcal disease (pneumonia). Prevnar is recommended for children 2 years of age and younger, people 2 years of age and older with certain medical conditions, and people 65 years of age or older after discussing with their clinician. So what does this mean for you? Basically, you need to be vaccinated once in your lifetime with Prevnar 13, whether that is as a child, an adolescent or young adult, or adult over age 65 which is dependent on your vaccination schedule, age, medical history and geographic location. If you are age 65 or older and have not been vaccinated with Prevnar 13, then you would be recommended to get vaccinated.

The second pneumonia vaccine is Pneumovax 23. It protects against 23 types of bacteria that can cause pneumococcal disease. Pneumovax is indicated for all adults over the age of 65, regardless if they have been vaccinated before. Pneumovax is also indicated for people ages 2 through 64 with certain medical conditions, and most importantly it is indicated in people 19 through 64 who smoke cigarettes. That includes a large percent of our truck drivers. It is extremely important for you, as a truck driver who smokes to get vaccinated for pneumonia NOW!

What do you need to do to get vaccinated? Thankfully, getting a vaccination has never been so easy. All you have to do is stop into your friendly local pharmacy as ask to be vaccinated for pneumonia after sharing that you are a smoker. You are also eligible for vaccination if you have diabetes, a heart condition, asthma or COPD and a few other conditions. The best part is that most commercial insurances cover vaccines at the pharmacy, and pneumonia vaccines are FREE with Medicare! The bottom line is that you need to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about getting vaccinated. If you have questions, please send me an email: and I will be more than happy to answer your questions or at least guide you in the right direction.

I will be in prayer for all of you who read my blog, I hope this finds you happy and healthy!

God Bless, Dr. Jen

About MJ Dispatch

We at M&J Dispatch, LLC are a small business whose mission is to help small trucking companies take their company to the next level. Our focus is on small trucking companies that have less than 10 trucks and are in need of finding freight at the best price. Our truck dispatchers know the business better than anyone and are experts at finding the highest paying load helping you make the money you deserve. Our team of highly trained dispatchers will take care of all the paperwork, phone calls, and payments so all you have to do is DRIVE.