The shot is very effective for bacterial pneumonia, but not effective on viral pneumonia. When you go to get the shot you will be given a pamphlet that covers all the info you may want or need. I don't know if there is any preservative (thimerosal or mercury) in the shot. Usually multi-dose vials have some kind of preservative in them, but I don't know if you would be getting a dose from a multi-dose vial or a single dose vial. Either way, the amount of preservative is so miniscule as to be negligible. If you are over 65 and have asthma or any underlying health conditions it is a good idea to be vaccinated. The vaccine is probably far safer for you than getting pneumonia. I have seen the vaccine recommended for younger folks if they have other health problems.
The pneumonia vaccine is effective against the 23 strains of pneumococcal bacteria it is targeted for. These are the most common and most virulent forms. It will not affect other causes of pneumonia. It is listed as a non mercury containing vaccine. People with chronic lung problems are one of the major targets for pneumonia vaccine.
I think the other two posts ahead of me have pretty well covered your questions so I'll just throw in my two cents... Please get the vaccine! It is far safer than getting a full blown case of pneumonia on top of your asthma...
Thanks everyone! My asthma has been very bad lately. I am way too afraid to get the swine flu shot and someone told me that maybe the pneumonia shot would be a better way to go. It's scary. If I got sick from the flu or a shot it could kill me. Not sure what I'm going to do yet.
Trust me on this one - the pneumonia shot hurts a heck of a lot less than getting pneumonia, having it move into your chest cavity and developing empyema, having that collapse your lung, and then ending up having to have a lobectomy. Stupid doctors - would you believe that I was actually thrilled when the 3rd doctor finally told me I had a broken rib and a collapsed lung - the first 2 told me it was just the flu - one even had the nerve to tell me to just go home and take some aspirin for my fever. I couldn't get anyone to listen to me until I went to National Jewish Hospital - they are the BEST!!