DOH gives free anti-pneumonia vaccines for senior citizens

The Department of Health (DOH) is making available to all senior citizens the free pneumococcal vaccination through their respective health centers, according to DOH Reg. Dir. Marlyn Convocar.

DOH has launched the Expanded Pneumococcal Immunization Program not only for indigent citizens but also for all senior citizens aged 60 and 65 years old to avail of free vaccination against pneumonia.

Pneumococcal disease is a leading cause of serious illness throughout the world. A common type of bacteria, the pneumococcus, causes illnesses such as 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.

Data from the DOH Field Health Services Information System (FHSIS) showed that pneumonia, along with acute lower respiratory tract infections rank as the second leading cause of morbidity among Filipinos in 2013.

Statistics point to pneumonia as one of the leading causes of mortality among Filipinos along with heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. As such, it is also the leading vaccine-preventable death in the country.

Convocar said the vaccine will comprise of two doses. Senior citizens aged 60 years old will be given the first dose and will receive the second dose after a 5-year interval. On the other hand, senior citizens aged 65 years old will receive one dose of the pneumococcal vaccine. [via PNA]

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