Most of us will notice that a lot of diseases are sprouting like mushrooms lately. I bet majority of us do not know the names of these new found diseases anymore unless we have it, right? I guess, life will much be simple and healthy if we’re all just a bunch of kids that all we need is just to complete our vaccines; but since this is not the case, all we can do is to be extra cautious especially when it comes to our health in order to safeguard our well-being.
Basically, I have noticed that some of the people I know have become paranoid of getting sick or acquiring certain diseases that can be detrimental to health or can pose hazard and become a threat to our lives. With this, several vaccines have also emerged, not just for babies (or children) but for adults, as well.
One of these conditions that can affect both children and adult (especially for those who are aged 50 years old and above) is the Invasive Pneumococcal Disease or IPD. If this condition is not detected and treated as soon as possible, it can certainly cause death to the victim. Each vaccine shot costs around P5,000.00 and it requires four shots. Considering the cost, still it’s nothing as compare to the safety of the person, am I right?
Because life is priceless, Pfizer Inc. has decided to launch its Pneumococcal vaccine specifically for adults who are 50 years old and above at Crowne Plaza in Ortigas last February 26, 2012. This vaccine for adults was approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) last October 2011, as well as, by the US Food and Drug Administration last December 2011.
During the press conference, Dr. Rontgene M. Solante, president of the Philippine Society of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) said that Filipinos aged 50 and above accounted for 88% of deaths due to pneumonia. “Often, pneumococcal disease attacks individuals with compromised immune systems and these are usually adults who are already suffering from other conditions,” he added.
Dr. Solante added that individuals who suffer from Pneumonia and other pneumococcal diseases experience a decreased quality of life as it could also lead to paralysis, mental retardation, seizures, learning disabilities and hearing loss. He noted it is often the individual’s disregard for symptoms of the pneumonia, most often due to lack of knowledge of the disease, which leads to death.
Dr. Joe Schmitt, the company’s Senior Director for Scientific Affairs (Vaccines) of Pfizer, mentioned that immunization becomes important for adults 50 and above because their immune systems have already weakened due to old age.
“We highly encourage individuals, especially those who are 50 years old and above, to visit their doctors and learn and understand more about pneumococcal disease. Understanding is the first step to fighting the disease,” shared Dr. Solante. “Once individuals understand the disease, they will also learn that pneumonia is actually a vaccine-preventable disease.”
“This is particularly important for adults 50 and above whose immune systems have weakened leaving the body susceptible to more diseases,” says Dr. Joe Schmitt, Senior Director for Scientific Affairs (Vaccines) of Pfizer, and a speaker at the press conference.
The pneumococcal vaccine of Pfizer has been available in the country since 2010 for use in children ages 2 to 5 years old and is now approved for adults 50 years old and above in the Philippines since November 2011. The adult indication was approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) last October 2011 and the US. Food and Drug Administration last December 2011.
Dr. Solante noted that here in the Philippines, it is important to make vaccination a family concern, especially since pneumonia can be acquired by anyone in the family. “Filipinos are very close to their families so we encourage everyone to make vaccination, especially against pneumonia, a family initiative. Encourage your family members to visit their doctors.”
Now, I think I should mention this vaccine to my parents, and to other friends and relatives ageing 50 years old and above and discuss about its benefits.