Promote vaccinations among elderly

The Ministry of Health has devised a new immunisation schedule for adults, and from Nov 1, they can use their Medisave to pay for recommended vaccinations (MOH introduces immunisation schedule for adults; Oct 22).

This scheme would be especially useful to older people, whose immune systems tend to put them at higher risk of contracting certain diseases, such as pneumonia and influenza, especially if they are frequent visitors to the hospital.

The MOH, medical professionals, the residents' committees and mass media all have an instrumental role in promoting elderly vaccination. Young people, too, should encourage their elderly parents to receive vaccinations.

Prior to discharge from hospitals, seniors should be given pneumococcal and influenza jabs as a standard of care. However, I wonder why only Tan Tock Seng Hospital offers a pre-discharge vaccination programme.

Vaccines offer the promise of protection against a variety of infectious diseases. Modern vaccines are extremely safe and serious reactions to them are rare.

We need to dispel any myths by stepping up education and communication about the advantages of vaccinations.

Loong Chik Tong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2017, with the headline 'Promote vaccinations among elderly'. Print Edition | Subscribe