A study reveals only one in five Australians has been vaccinated against pneumococcal disease.

The Lungs4life survey of 1000 people shows more than 35% of Australians aged 18-64 are at particular risk of contracting pneumococcal pneumonia due to their smoking or chronic medical condition.

The risk is greatest in those aged over 65, but only 60% of those aged 65-74 have been vaccinated. Just 12% consider themselves at high risk of contracting pneumococcal pneumonia.

However, most people will seek vaccination once advised about the seriousness of the infection, according to the study.

Respiratory physician Associate Professor Lucy Morgan says it is concerning that vaccination is not a priority for those at most risk of contracting the disease.

This is despite the vaccine being available under the National Immunisation Program for Australians aged 65 and over, says Dr Morgan, who is based at the Concord Hospital in Sydney.  

Last Reviewed: 21/05/2015