People with COPD are more at risk of catching the flu and pneumonia, both of which can be very serious and affect your breathing. You can protect yourself from both of these diseases by getting vaccinated. This is when small quantities of inactivated organisms which cause the flu or pneumonia are injected into the body. This does not cause the flu or pneumonia but encourages your body’s immune system to produce antibodies, helping it to fight off infection.
The Influenza (Flu) vaccine
The flu is a highly infectious disease, so you need to have your flu vaccine every year – September or October time is best. Remember it will take 10-14 days for the vaccine to start protecting you against the flu.
You might experience some side effects such as soreness and redness at the injection site. These usually go away in a day or so.
The Pneumococcal (Pneumovax) vaccine
This protects against infections such as pneumonia, caused by a group of bacteria called Pneumococcal bacteria. Like the flu vaccine this vaccine encourages your immune system to make antibodies. Unlike the flu vaccine you do not need to get it every year. If you are over 65 regardless of any underlying disease you need one dose of vaccine. If you are under 65, most adults in risk groups which include COPD require one dose of vaccine and another after they reach the age of 65 but there needs to be 5 years between the two vaccinations. You can talk to your healthcare professional about this.
Vaccination against Covid 19 in accordance with HSE guidelines is strongly recommended for all people living with COPD
People with COPD are at high risk of severe complications from COVID-19 infection. Vaccination against Covid 19 in accordance with HSE guidelines is strongly recommended for all people living with COPD.