Importance of vaccinations


THERE are vaccines for every stage of a person’s life, says Gleneagles Hospital Penang chief medical officer Dr Chin Yin Loon.


He said many mistakenly believe that vaccines are only for newborns and children, not realising that it is also important for adults to be vaccinated.


Dr Chin added that adults are also exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) such as diphtheria, measles, pertussis, pneumococcal disease, polio and chickenpox, which is often thought of as only affecting children.


“With the influx of foreigners to the country, you are at risk of new strains of these bacteria and viruses.


“Although the spread among adults may not be as swift as among children, VPDs still put them at risk of complications. Just like children, adults also need vaccination to reduce or prevent infections.


“Vaccination provides benefits including increasing immunity and saving costs of treating diseases that are preventable,” Dr Chin said in a statement today.


He said many parents are wondering if their babies or children should still get their vaccines during this Covid-19 pandemic and what they should do if they have appointments coming up.


He said according to health authorities, parents should still safely take their children to get their shots.


Vaccines contain germs that cause the disease but these germs have either been killed or weakened so that they won’t make a person sick when vaccinated. The antibodies produced will help the person to develop immunity to that disease.


Vaccines, Dr Chin said, have side effects that are often mild and usually resolve by themselves.


The common side effects are pain, swelling, or redness at the injection area, mild fever, chills, feeling tired, headache, and muscle and joint aches.


He said infectious diseases could be transmitted from a host to another, usually via air droplets or bodily fluids.


“Some pathogens however can overwhelm one’s immune system which can cause serious illness. Therefore, it is important to understand that prevention is always better than cure.


“At the moment, there are six basic vaccines offered in Gleneagles and they are HPV, influenza, hepatitis A & hepatitis B, herpes zoster (shingles) and pneumococcal vaccines,” Dr Chin said.


Currently, Gleneagles Hospital Penang is having a 30% discount on health screening packages with every purchase of one of the vaccinations. The promotion ends on Sept 15.


Story by Kevin Vimal
Pix courtesy of Gleneagles Hospital Penang