Immunization: What You Need to Know

Getting vaccinated is one of the most important things you can do to safeguard your lung health. The BC Lung Association recommends getting the seasonal flu vaccination as early as possible to provide the best protection. 

For older people and those with chronic conditions, we also strongly recommend getting immunized against pneumonia as well.  What many people don’t know is that combined – the flu (or influenza) and pneumonia - are ranked among the top 10 leading causes of death in Canada.

Who is at greater risk? 
Children and those over 65 are hardest hit; but those with chronic disease run a serious risk, including people affected by lung conditions: COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis. More vulnerable are also pregnant women, indigenous peoples and residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities; but no one is immune.

What is particularily dangerous for adults?
Diseases like influenza and pneumonia are particularly dangerous for older people. If you’re a healthy adult between ages 18 and 50, you can probably skip the vaccine. 

What does the pneumococcal vaccination do?
Pneumococcal vaccinations help protect you against pneumococcal infections such as pneumonia, bacteremia (blood infection) and meningitis (infection of the membrane surrounding your brain and spinal cord).

For the best protection adults aged 65 years and older should speak to their healthcare provider about getting both the Prevnar® 13 and the Pneumovax® 23 vaccines.

Those not previously immunized should receive the Prevnar® 13 vaccine first followed by the Pneumovax® 23 vaccine at least eight weeks later.

Those who have previously received the Pneumovax® 23 vaccine should receive the Prevnar® 13 vaccine at least one year after receiving the Pneumovax® 23 vaccine

Where can I learn more about immunization?
Visit for more information about immunization. And remember to consult with your healthcare provider to develop an immunization plan for you and your family.

Page Last Updated: 25/05/2020