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Pneumococcal Disease

Aren’t vaccines just for kids?

Vaccines for infants and children are important and sometimes life-saving. But vaccine-preventable infections affect even healthy adolescents and adults. Prime examples are influenza; pneumococcal disease, which causes moderate to severe pneumonia and other serious infections; and pertussis or whooping cough, which has been on the rise in the US and is currently causing an epidemic in California. These three infections not only are capable of causing diseases that can be spread to more vulnerable people like very young infants who often are hospitalized or may even die (influenza and whooping cough), but these infections have also been associated with heart attacks (influenza and pneumococcus) in adults age 65 years and older. Vaccines are for everyone.