World Pneumonia Day has been observed on 12 November, every year since 2009. The theme for World Pneumonia Day this year is “Every Breath Counts”, a clarion call for global awareness and action against this respiratory infection which has claimed more lives than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pneumonia is an infection which occurs in either lungs and causes inflammation in the lungs as well as the respiratory tracts. Often, the lungs also fill up with mucus or other fluids, which makes respiration even more difficult. Data suggests that pneumonia is the single biggest infectious disease that kills millions of children and adults every year.
Because pneumonia is a severe complication of COVID-19 infection, the deaths due to pneumonia have increased during 2020. This makes the prevention of pneumonia even more crucial now. There are two pneumonia vaccines, Pneumovax23 and Prevnar13, which prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. There are no vaccines that prevent viral pneumonia but taking the flu vaccine every year may prevent pneumonia as it can occur due to complications arising from viral infections like the flu and COVID-19.