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SHOTS COULD BE LIFESAVERS

When you head out to get your flu shot, talk to your doctor about a pneumonia shot as well -- especially if you're over 65 or have a chronic illness.

An infectious-disease expert at Baylor College of Medicine says thousands of lives are lost every year because this readily available vaccine is not getting the public attention it deserves.

"The sad fact is that too many people whose lives could be saved by the pneumonia vaccine do not get inoculated because they are unaware of it and they are not pressured by their physicians to take it," says Dr. Daniel M. Musher, who also practices at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas.

Here's a quick look at people Musher says should get pneumonia shots:

People with lung disease, heart disease, and any kind of immune system disorder.

People who have had their spleens removed.

Adults over 65.

Young children are susceptible to pneumonia, though the vaccine is not effective in kids younger than 2.

Musher cautions that a pneumonia shot doesn't last a lifetime. Research indicates it should be repeated every five to 10 years. People without spleens need it every five years.

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