Free pneumonia vaccine offered by DOH to Senior Citizen

The DOH has offered free pneumonia vaccine to Senior Citizens aged 60 to 65 years old. The pneumococcal vaccination can be availed in their respective health centers this year.

The Pneumococcal disease is a leading disease that causes serious illnesses worldwide. It is caused by a common type of bacteria, the pneumococcus, which can attack different parts of the body. Illnesses caused by pneumococcus include pneumonia, meningitis, middle ear and sinus infections, and a condition called sepsis, which is an infection of the bloodstream. Age related-impairment of the immune system compounded with decrease of physical activity and poor nutrition increase the risk of severe pneumococcal infection.

Being the leading cause of serious illness,  the DOH has offered free pneumonia vaccine.

“Pneumococcal vaccines has been long available in the Philippines, specifically in the private sector. DOH wants to ensure that these are distributed not only to the people who have enough resources to access life saving-medicines and services, but also to our indigent citizens nationwide. This is our goal in attaining Universal Health Care,” Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin explained.

An individual immuned with neumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is being protected from invasive pneumococcal infections. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine for the elderly and other risk groups.

According to reports,  a program under Expanded Pneumococcal Immunization Program for Senior Citizens, says that he elders can avail the two doses of the vaccine. After a five-year interval from the first dose, the elders will receive the second dose. On the other hand, senior citizens aged 65 years old will receive one dose of the pneumococcal vaccine.

“We can avoid complications, hospitalization, and even death if we choose to equip ourselves with our available medicines today that we are fortunate to have in this generation. We are encouraging our senior citizen to visit our nearest health facility and avail the free pneumococcal vaccine,” Garin noted.

It was previously reported that in 2003, the WHO estimated that more than 1.6 million people die from pneumococcal infections every year. It remains a major cause of mortality worldwide. Also, according to latest data from the DOH’s Field Health Services Information System, pneumonia along with acute lower respiratory tract infections rank as the second leading cause of morbidity among Filipinos in 2013.

The program of DOH that offers free pneumonia vaccine which has been issued since 2011 with Administrative Order 2011-0018 stating the implementating guidelines on influenza or pneumococcal immunization for indigent senior citizens had resulted a total of 1,409,957 senior citizens vaccinated with pneumococcal vaccine since 2011.

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