Pneumococcal pneumonia can affect anyone


Adults aged 65 and over, no matter how healthy they feel, are at increased risk simply due to their age. Find out who else is at higher risk.

Symptoms of pneumonia, like chest pain, cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing, can require hospitalisation. There are over 77,500 pneumonia hospitalisations in Australia each year, and the average stay rises with age – from 6 days for those under 65 to 13 days for those 65+.

Know pneumonia and how to protect yourself by exploring this website.


  • Don’t underestimate pneumococcal pneumonia

    Pneumonia is a potentially fatal lung infection which causes swelling in parts of your lungs. It occurs once the air space within your lungs is filled with fluids that obstruct normal air flow. There are many types of pneumonia, one of the most common and life threatening types is Pneumococcal Pneumonia. The bacteria that cause this disease can be spread through a cough or sneeze.


    Pneumonia is not a cold or flu. Symptoms should not be ignored as they can lead to hospitalisation and be life-threatening:

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Cough
    • Fever
    • Fatigue
    • Chest pain

    It is important to be aware that if you have pneumonia you may not show all signs and symptoms. Pneumonia is easily spread through coughing and sneezing. The infection can develop in just 1 – 3 days.

  • Who is at risk?

    Pneumonia can affect anyone
    but those at a higher risk are:

    • People 65+ years young
    • People with medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer or a chronic disease affecting the lungs, heart , kidney or liver
    • Tobacco smokers
    • Indigenous Australians
    • Infants aged 12 months or under

    It’s important to remember that no matter how healthy and active you are, your risk for getting pneumococcal pneumonia increases with age. This is because our immune system naturally weakens with age, making it harder for our bodies to fight off infections and diseases.

    The average hospital duration also rises with age, from 6 days for those under 65, to 13 days for those 65+.


  • Prevention

    You can take steps to protect yourself against pneumococcal pneumonia by:

    • Practicing good hand and home hygiene to minimise the spread of germs.
    • Making your life a smoke-free zone by quitting smoking and/or reducing your exposure to second hand smoke.
    • Having the vaccination which is subsidised under the government’s National Immunisation Program (NIP) for:
    • all Australians aged 65 years or older
    • Indigenous Australians aged 50 years or older, and
    • Indigenous Australians aged 15 to 49 years who are medically at risk

    Speak to your doctor today about the pneumonia vaccination.