A new study of almost 19 million people shows that even though many of the elderly are not getting the pneumococcal vaccine like they should. They are benefiting anyway because kids are getting the shot. In fact, since 2000 when it was first introduced for children, the number of cases of pneumonia and meningitis in kids has dropped by 75 percent.
"We were surprised about how dramatically the rates of serious pneumococcal infections declined among older adults and how quickly these declines occurred," says Catherine Lexau a Ph.D at Minnesota Department of Health.
The CDC says this study led by the Minnesota Health department really points to how important it is to vaccinate young children, because when more kids are protected against diseases that can kill the elderly. There are fewer carriers out there infecting grandparents and other seniors. By the way, it's recommended that children get the pneumococcal vaccine beginning at 2 months of age, but kids up to age 5 can still get the vaccine, even if they didn't get it as an infant.