What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a potentially life-threatening, respiratory infection caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. Most cases of pneumonia are caused by bacteria (Streptococcus Pneumoniae). The infection causes one or both of the lungs to become inflamed and swell up with fluid. Symptoms of pneumonia may start quickly and in serious cases, lead to hospitalisation.

Who is at risk of Pneumonia?

Pneumonia can affect anyone but there are certain groups of people who are more at risk than others.


  • People with pre-existing medical conditions (asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, or a heart, kidney or liver condition.

  • People with flu

  • People with a weakened immune system

  • Babies and young children

  • Elderly people

  • Smokers

What are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?

  • Cough - which may be dry, or produce thick yellow, green, brown or blood-stained mucus (phlegm)

  • Breathing Difficulties - breathing may be rapid and shallow (>20 breaths per minute)

  • Feeling confused and disorientated (particularly in the elderly)

  • Chest Pain - which gets worse when breathing or coughing

  • Rapid Heartbeat - heart rate >100 beats per minute

  • High Temperature - a temperature above 38°C

  • Feeling generally unwell

  • Sweating/Shivering

  • Loss of appetite

Who is suitable for a Pneumonia Vaccination?

Some patients are eligible to for a pneumonia vaccination on the NHS - however, this is only for selected groups (Patients under two years / over 65 and those with certain long term conditions). 

The Alphega Pharmacy Pneumonia Vaccination Service is suitable for anyone over 2 years of age that meet the eligibility criteria, as assessed by the pharmacist.

There are two different types of pneumonia vaccine - if you have already had one type on the NHS, you may also benefit from having the other. The pharmacist will be able to advise on this.

How does it work?

The Pneumonia Vaccine works by encouraging the development of antibodies - this means you are less likely to become ill if you come into contact with bacteria that cause pneumonia.  A single vaccination enhances the immune response and provides long-lasting protection against pneumococcal pneumonia.

The Pneumonia Vaccine can also be given alongside other vaccinations, such as the Flu Vaccination

How can I get a Pneumonia Vaccination?

1) Use our Pharmacy Locator to find your nearest participating Alphega Pharmacy.

2) Contact the Pharmacy to discuss your interest in / eligibility for a Pneumonia Vaccination.

3) Attend the Pharmacy to obtain your vaccination.