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VERIFY: No, getting the pneumonia vaccine will not protect against coronavirus

A Verify viewer reached out after hearing that in some severe cases, coronavirus can cause pneumonia. Will getting the pneumonia vaccine protect against the virus?
A senior adult receives a vaccine on Friday, September, 6, 2013. (Rick Wilson/AP Images)


Will the pneumonia vaccine, called "Pneumococcal Vaccines," protect against the novel coronavirus?




World Health Organization

Harvard Medical School

University of Chicago Medicine


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the novel coronavirus is a respiratory illness that causes pneumonia in some severe cases.

A Verify viewer reached out to the team, and asked whether getting a pneumonia vaccine would protect you against the worst effects of the coronavirus.

Our Verify team turned to expertise from the World Health Organization, Harvard Medical School and the University of Chicago Medicine.

All of them agree that getting a pneumonia vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19.

"Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new virus," the World Health Organization writes. "The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine...although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health."

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Credit: World Health Organization
No, the pneumonia vaccine does not provide protection against coronavirus, according to WHO

"There is no antibiotic -- they are designed for bacterial infections, not viral ones -- to treat COVID-19," Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Chicago Medicine, writes online. "Scientists are already working on a vaccine, but we don’t expect to have a good vaccine until spring of 2021 at the earliest...For now, doctors can only treat the symptoms, not the virus itself."

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There’s currently no vaccine to protect against the coronavirus and no medications approved to treat it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So we can verify that no, getting a pneumonia vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19.

All our health experts say that while these vaccines do not specifically protect against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, they are highly recommended to protect against other respiratory illnesses.

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