Pneumonia Vaccine Won’t Protect You From COVID-19

We hear a lot of health rumors, and we always like to look at the science behind them. The only people you should take advice from are medical professionals who know your history. They understand your medical needs. But when we hear about trends and claims, we like to check them out for you so that you can go into a discussion with your doctor with some facts to discuss.
We have heard rumors about COVID-19. It’s common when there is a virus going around to hear all sorts of home advice, but one stood out and caught our attention. People are saying that vaccines that protect you from pneumonia — like the pneumococcal vaccine and Hib vaccine — will protect you from COVID-19. That isn’t true. The COVID-19 virus is too new and different for those vaccines to work.
A vaccine works by injecting a part of the virus of bacteria to the body — they are called antigens. It shows your immune system what the illness “looks” like. The body produces antibodies to attack that bacteria or virus. Then, when your body “sees” the dangerous bacteria or virus in the future, it can mount its attack and protect you from getting ill. COVID-19 doesn’t “look” like pneumonia, even though they both cause respiratory problems.
Researchers are looking for a vaccine against COVID-19. But, we won’t have one in the near future. “We don’t expect to have a good vaccine until spring of 2021 at the earliest,” wrote Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious disease specialist at the Univ. of Chicago Medicine. “For now, doctors can only treat the symptoms, not the virus itself.”
Unfortunately, COVID-19 can lead to a form of pneumonia that also isn’t covered by the vaccine. Despite that, pneumonia vaccines are an excellent way to protect your health, and you should get one. But, it won’t protect you from COVID-19.
It worries us when we hear these rumors because they can place people in danger. They can give people a false sense of safety. The only ways to protect yourself against catching COVID-19 are to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face and avoid other people. Iceland has been doing mass testing for COVID-19. They aren’t waiting until people have symptoms, they have checked three percent of their population! And, their results have shown that half the people infected with the virus have no symptoms and appear perfectly healthy. That means that you shouldn’t feel comfortable and safe around someone just because they don’t appear ill. The Univ. of Texas performed research and learned that 10 percent of the people in their study who were ill had been infected by someone who appeared healthy.
Hearing the false rumor that pneumonia vaccines can protect you from COVID-19 may make a person not defend themselves the way they should. Most of us are going stir-crazy inside our homes. But, it’s not worth the risk to go out. None of us are vaccinated against this illness, and any one of us could be ill, passing the infection onto others. So, protect yourself and your community by staying inside. A pneumonia vaccine won’t protect you.
March 30, 2020

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