Lucy highlights the seriousness of pneumonia

TO mark “Know Pneumonia Day” the Lung Foundation Australia has released research that shows up to four-in-five Canberran adults do not consider “life-threatening consequence”‘ as sufficient motivation to vaccinate against pneumococcal pneumonia. 

Respiratory physician Lucy Morgan says Canberrans are not being persuaded of the seriousness of pneumococcal pneumonia infection, despite more than 63 per cent of research survey respondents reporting underlying risk factors that predispose them to contracting the illness.

“Pneumonia and pneumonia-like illness is among the top 15 contributing causes of death nationally and among the top five leading causes of hospitalisation in Australia,” she says. 

“All adults aged 65 and over are at increased risk of contracting pneumococcal pneumonia due to their age alone and many more have existing chronic medical conditions or lifestyle factors (current or past smoking) that place them at heightened risk of infection.

“Lung Foundation Australia’s Know Pneumonia research shows ongoing efforts to raise public awareness of the seriousness of pneumococcal pneumonia infection are simply not resonating.

“Even among high risk groups, such as those aged over 65, there are no overwhelmingly high motivators for vaccination.

“Of immediate concern is that only one-in-five (18 per cent) research respondents aged 65 and above strongly agree their age puts them at risk of contracting pneumococcal pneumonia, while two-in-five (40 per cent) of those yet to be vaccinated, don’t even consider themselves to be at risk.”

Those at greatest risk of pneumococcal pneumonia include infants, people aged over 65 years, Indigenous Australians, those with impaired immunity, tobacco smokers, and people with chronic illnesses such as asthma, COPD, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and liver disease.

Pneumococcal vaccination is funded under the government’s National Immunisation Program (NIP) for all Australians aged 65 years and older, Indigenous Australians aged 50 years and over, and Indigenous Australians aged 15 years and over who are medically at risk.

Information at lungfoundation.com.au/pneumonia or call 1800 654 301.

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