Pneumonia Risk–Time for Your Pneumovax?

With all of the recent conjecture about the possibility of an Asian Avian flu pandemic, the subject of pneumonia inoculations has come up. (Because pneumonia co-infections are the biggest killer associated with the Asian Avian flu. Most of those cases are viral, but some could be pneumococcal.)  Merck makes a widely used pneumonia vaccination called Pneumovax 23.  It is administered intramuscularly before exposure to pneumococci (streptococcus pneumoniae), and reportedly only rarely has adverse reactions. It will not prevent viral pneumonia, but at least it is effective at preventing 23 strains of pneumococcal pneumonias. The threat of Asian Avian flu mutating into a strain that easily transmissible by humans constitutes a novel threat. In this particular instance, I have come to the conclusion that it is worthwhile to have everyone in my family vaccinated with Pneumovax. [But Jim is always a worst case scenario kinda guy! – The Memsahib.]  I predict that if a readily transmissible strain does break out into a pandemic that there will be a huge rush for the relatively few available doses of Pneumovax. Give it some serious thought and prayer. If you feel convicted to get your family vaccinated, do not hesitate. Do so while Pneumovax is still readily available.