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VERIFY: Pneumonia vaccines don’t protect you from COVID-19, but get them anyway

If the pneumonia vaccine protects your lungs, shouldn’t it prevent COVID-19? The theory makes sense, but the CDC and WHO conclude it’s a myth.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Can this vaccine...or that vaccine...prevent COVID-19? It's one of the most common questions infiltrating the VERIFY center. 

Last week, our team concluded the flu shot cannot prevent COVID-19, but it is helpful in avoiding co-infection and saves hospitals critical resources. 

RELATED: VERIFY: Flu shot can’t prevent the coronavirus, but it helps save lives

VERIFY QUESTION

Good Morning Show viewer Mavis Anderson asked, "For the older population [who] got the pneumococcal vaccination, would that help them survive infection in the lungs from coronavirus?"

Credit: WFMY via Mavis Anderson

VERIFY SOURCES

VERIFY PROCESS

First, what is pneumococcal, and who needs the vaccine? The CDC explains pneumococcal disease is a bacterial illness that can cause anything from ear and sinus infections to pneumonia and bloodstream infections.

It is most common in young children, but older adults have the greatest risk of serious illness and death.

There are two vaccines for it -- Prevnar-13 (PCV13) and Pneumovax-23 (PPSV23). The CDC recommends Prevnar for all children younger than two and Pneumovax all adults 65 and older, as well as people ages two through 64 with certain medical conditions or a history of smoking.

So, back to Anderson's question -- can the pneumococcal vaccine help people survive lung infection from COVID-19? The World Health Organization listed this question on its Myth Busters page, because the answer is no. An info graphic explains neither the pneumococcal vaccine nor HiB (Haemophilus influenza type B) vaccine protects against coronavirus. 

Credit: World Health Organization (WHO)

It explains the virus is so new and different, it needs its own vaccine.

That said, the World Health Organization recommends getting these pneumonia vaccines to fight other respiratory illnesses and improve respiratory health, overall. That is obviously a good thing, especially amid a global pandemic.

VERIFY CONCLUSION

If the pneumonia vaccine protects your lungs, shouldn’t it prevent COVID-19? The theory makes sense, but the CDC and WHO conclude it’s a myth.

Do you have a VERIFY inquiry? Submit a post, screen shot or selfie video of the topic in question to Meghann Mollerus via:

Facebook: Meghann Mollerus News

Twitter: @MeghannMollerus

E-mail: Mmollerus@wfmy.com

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