KUALA LUMPUR: Adult vaccination provides varying degrees of protection, with up to 77% reduction in hospitalisation for influenza cases, said a top medical consultant.
Sungai Buloh Hospital head of medical department and senior consultant physician for infectious diseases Datuk Dr Christopher Lee Kwok Choong did not give details but said influenza could have a dire impact on adults who fall in the high-risk group, including elderly people and middle-aged patients with chronic diseases like diabetes.
“When one is at a higher risk, an infectious disease like influenza could have serious consequences if left untreated, leading to hospitalisation and, in some cases, loss of life.
“Vaccination provides varying degrees of protection. As a result, one tends to have a greater ability to wage the fight against diseases,” he said at a media dialogue entitled “Why Adults Should Say ‘Yes!’ to Immunisation and Understanding Influenza” here today.
Prof Dr Zamberi Sekawi, president of the Malaysian Society of Infectious Diseases and Chemotherapy, which organised the session, said that Malaysians tend to think that vaccinations were only for children.
“Yet, as people grow older, lifestyles change and one’s immune system tends to weaken,” he said.
Malaysians, like people in other Southeast Asian countries, generally lack awareness of the benefits of receiving vaccination at a later age. Hence, the relative low use of influenza vaccines among adults.
Institute of Respiratory Medicine senior consultant chest physician Prof Datuk Dr Abdul Razak Abdul Muttalif recommended influenza vaccination to be taken annually to ensure “optimal match between the vaccine and prevailing influenza strains”.
Health Ministry head of surveillance sector for disease control division Dr Wan Noraini Wan Mohamed Noor said adults should ask their doctors about vaccination as a general means to protect their health, saying that flu jabs can be used as the first line of defence against other diseases.
“Influenza is not the direct cause of death. However, it will exaggerate underlying medical conditions such as brain inflamation and pneumonia. The only way to prevent influenza is through vaccination,” she said. — Bernama
This article was originally published in The Sun Daily on November 4, 2016.