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Adult vaccination ignored for far too long

Pank Jit Sin
24 Aug 2017

While the vast majority of the population knows about vaccination in children, many are ignorant of the benefits of vaccination.

With that in mind, the Malaysian Society of Infectious Diseases and Chemotherapy (MSIDC) recently launched the Vaxin Check for Adults programme. The programme is the first of its kind in the country and provides vaccine recommendations for different sets of profiles—parents and childminders, the elderly, people with chronic diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and travelers.

While adult vaccination recommendations are usually based on HALO (Health, Age, Lifestyle and Occupation) parameters, MSIDC has improvised upon the (HALO) precept to come up with easy-to-follow recommendations. This is distinctive feature of the Vaxin Check for Adults programme and makes it easier for everyone to know which vaccines they should utilize based on their life stage and circumstances alone.

Professor Zamberi Sekawi, MSIDC president, explaining the various profiles, said: “Parents and childminders should get vaccinated to prevent them from spreading diseases to babies and children who are too young or are unable to get vaccinated.” The type of vaccines suggested for this profile would include influenza; measles, mumps and rubella; varicella; Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis); and polio.

Adults with chronic health conditions including the likes of diabetes, heart disease and liver cirrhosis are advised to go for influenza; pneumococcal; hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines.  Recommendations for travellers include vaccination for diseases which are region specific. These include influenza (seasonal influenza vaccines are divided into the northern or southern hemisphere types).

Children are often thought to be the most likely victims of communicable diseases. However, this isn’t always the case as recent history demonstrates—the likes of SARS, H1N1 influenza outbreak,

Newly elected Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Ravindran Naidu was there to officiate the programme.  He said vaccination awareness campaigns and programmes such as Vaxin Check For Adults are timely and necessary as vaccine-preventable diseases continue to pose significant threats to adults.

Associate Professor Dr Ariza Adnan, vice president of MSIDC, said: “Many adults mistake vaccine-preventable diseases for other more innocuous illnesses. A classic example is how people confuse the flu with the common cold. People also tend to play down their risk of being infected by vaccine-preventable diseases, and do not realize that these diseases are complex and costly to treat.”

Join the adult vaccination network
Also present at the launch was Professor Yasmin A Malik, chair, Vaxin Check for Adults programme. She encouraged the public to visit the Vaxin Check online directory of adult vaccination clinics. The directory will make it easier for the public to locate a clinic where they can discuss their vaccination needs with a suitably trained doctor.

The online directory of clinics participating in the Vaxin Check for Adults programme can be accessed at www.immunise4life.my/vaxincheck. As of May 2017, the directory has a list of about 250 participating clinics. The directory aims to have 1,000 clinics listed by the end of the year.


Note
: The Vaxin Check online clinic directory (www.ifl.my/vaxincheck) is intended to help the public locate clinics that offer adult vaccination. All doctors who offer adult vaccination services are eligible to be listed. Registration is free. Doctors who wish to be listed can contact the Vaxin Check programme secretariat at 03-7931 1868 or 03-7960 9788. Alternatively, the secretariat can be reached at matters@ifl.my

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