Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Global Hospital sets up Mumbai’s first Adult Vaccination Clinic to mark World Immunization Week

Statistics show higher morbidity and mortality in adults from vaccine-preventable diseases as compared to children

Mumbai, 25th April, 2016: This World Immunization Week’s (24-30 April) theme is ‘Closing the immunization gap: Immunization all throughout life’. It stresses on the need for immunization in adolescents and adults, an overlooked but critical health issue. Very alarming is the fact that adults suffer from higher morbidity and mortality from some serious vaccine-preventable diseases when compared to children. For e.g. vaccine preventable influenza and pneumococcal disease kill far more adults than children each year. Most countries including India have public health policies which strongly focus on childhood vaccination. There is a need to push for adult vaccination to bring down adult deaths from preventable illnesses.   

Recognizing the importance of adult vaccination, Global Hospital has started an adult vaccination clinic to make available adult vaccines for serious diseases such as influenza, hepatitis A, B, chicken pox and rubella etc. Diseases such as influenza, pneumococcal, hepatitis A and chicken pox are more aggressive when acquired in adulthood. Certain vaccine preventable diseases like pertussis, influenza and chickenpox not only affect the infected individual but pose a heightened risk of infecting children and older adults in the family, both vulnerable groups of society. Such vaccine-preventable diseases put an increased economic burden on the country.  

Speaking on the occasion of World Immunization Week, Dr. Vasant Nagvekar, Infectious Diseases Consultant, Global Hospital Mumbai said, “The high rates of morbidity and mortality in adults from vaccine-preventable diseases is a grave concern as they far exceed those seen in children. Just the yearly influenza vaccine, especially when taken by the elderly and those having co-morbid conditions, reduces hospitalization risks by 40%. There has been a reduction of 25% adult deaths through the use of the pneumococcal vaccine and a 50% reduction from the use of the influenza vaccine. I would like more and more people to be aware of this fact and choose adult vaccination for themselves and their families.”

Dr. Nagvekar stressed upon the fact that all women planning pregnancy must know whether they are protected against chicken pox and rubella either by having acquired infection in the past or through vaccination against the disease. If not protected, it is important to get vaccinated. He also stressed on the fact that all adult vaccines should be taken as per a doctor’s advice and under his supervision.
Adult immunization coverage is low in India and must be pushed aggressively to bring down the overall disease burden. A lack of provider recommendations for adult vaccines combined with lack of knowledge on adult vulnerability to life threatening diseases plus the perception that these vaccines are costly could be the reasons for people not opting for adult vaccination. This initial cost however must be offset by the benefits that accrue over the long term for individuals and their families and must be considered a necessary investment in good health.

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