In a nutshell, what is vaccine? It is Biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. It contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism. It is often made from weaked/killed forms of the microbe, its toxin or one of its surface proteins. It stimulates immune system to recognize the agent as foreign, destroy it, and “remember” it, so that the immune system can more easily recognize and destroy any of these microorganisms that it later encounters.
|The importance of vaccination throughout their lives from infants to older adults.|
GSK launches awareness campaign in conjunction with World Pneumonia Day 2019, underlining pneumonia as one the most common vaccine preventable diseases. In Malaysia, pneumonia is listed as one of the top five causes of death according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia. Pneumonia is an infectious disease that may be treated with antibiotics, but many people are not aware that it is preventable, using vaccination.
Pneumonia, a lung infection, can be caused by different bacteria, viruses and even fungi. Pneumococcal disease, in either invasive or non-invasive forms, is an infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria (pneumococcus). Pneumococcus can cause various types of infections, some of which can be life-threatening. One of the most common causes of severe pneumonia is pneumococcus bacteria. Besides pneumonia, pneumococcus bacteria can also cause ear and sinus infections (non-invasive).
‘Invasive’ pneumococcal bacteria can invade the bloodstream causing bloodstream infection (bacteremia) and meningitis (infection of the tissues and fluids covering the brain and spinal cord).
Pneumonia is today one of the leading causes of deaths in children, accounting for 18% of all deaths of children under five worldwide.Children under five years old are particularly susceptible to the disease especially those with compromised immune systems which may be weakened by malnutrition or undernourishment, especially in infants who are not exclusively breast-fed in spite of it being preventable and treatable in many cases.
Pneumonia was the principal cause of death for the population aged 0 to 14 years in 2018 at 4.8 per cent. Children under two years of age fall into the highest general risk group for invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD).
There are vaccines to prevent pneumococcal disease in children and adults. The introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) in many countries worldwide has helped to reduce infant deaths from pneumonia. Globally, while an estimated 71.3 million infants have received PCV, at the end of 2018, there were 55 million infants who still had no access to PCV.
“Next to clean drinking water, vaccination is the most powerful public health policy in preventing infectious diseases. We at GSK, believe that every child deserves access to vaccination. Through vaccination it has been demonstrated that diseases such as small pox can be eradicated. With improving healthcare policies and access we will continue to see the elimination of mortality and morbidity due to infectious diseases,” said Dr. Ashwini Saha, Vaccine Medical Director, GSK Malaysia.
Emphasizing the importance of vaccination, Dato’ Dr. Musa shared, “As we age, our immune system does too. This makes us vulnerable to life-threatening diseases. By strengthening our immune system with vaccination through scheduled administration of vaccines, we can certainly protect ourselves and those closest to us and eventually help save lives. The vaccinations we receive as children can certainly protect us from life-threatening or debilitating diseases and lays the foundation for a stronger immunity later in life.”
Dr. Yong Junina Fadzil added, “There is a huge misconception about vaccinations and its implications on a child’s health. On-going education, collaborations with healthcare professionals as well as affirmative action by policymakers can change people’s mindsets. The Government’s move to include the pneumococcal vaccine into the NIP is indeed laudable and it exemplifies the importance of getting children vaccinated against this infectious disease. Just like regular exercise and a healthy diet, diligently keeping to a scheduled vaccination programme is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Ensuring the health of our children will ensure the health of our nation.”
“We truly support the Ministry of Health’s call for children to be vaccinated against pneumococcal disease. We certainly welcome the much-awaited news on the inclusion of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) into the National Immunisation Programme (NIP),” said Mr. David Lin.
“GSK’s Vaccinate for Life campaign extends beyond just a call for vaccination against pneumonia and IPD. Vaccination doesn’t stop at childhood as it helps give children a healthy start in life. It is not something you outgrow as vaccination is needed throughout one’s life to protect against preventable diseases and to prevent diseases from spreading in the community, ” explained Mr. David Lin.
With a 60 year footprint in healthcare in Malaysia, GSK remains committed to their patient focus values reiterated by Vaccinate for Life with a two-fold objective :
· - To provide information on vaccine preventable diseases to the public to support them to make informed decisions on their healthcare.
· - To highlight the importance of vaccinating throughout one’s life.
|(L to R) Dr. Ashwini Saha (Vaccine Medical Director, GSK Malaysia), Dr. Yong Junina Fadzil (Consultant Paediatrician and Paediatric Cardiologist), Dato’ Dr. Musa Mohd Nordin (Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist), Mr. David Lin (Communications & Government Affairs Director, GSK Malaysia) discuss the importance of vaccination for life.|
In a nutshell, Vaccination saves lives and improves health. Vaccination is the most cost-effective health-care intervention available; it helps to inhibit the spread of disease, protecting people from illness and death.