KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 – The Selangor state government will launch a pneumococcal vaccination drive for high-risk groups, particularly senior citizens, starting with 10,000 fully subsidised shots, from November 14 to December 31.
Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari said the RM1.5 million pneumococcal immunisation programme by the state government’s public health committee and the Selangor Public Health Advisory Council (Selphac) will focus on aged care homes, senior citizens, and holders of the Iltizam Selangor Sihat card in the first phase.
The vaccination drive will be run by the Selvax Mobile Team and Selcare clinics under the state government.
“This decision was made after taking into account rising statistics of respiratory infections that put the residents of Selangor at risk, especially senior citizens,” Amirudin said in a statement yesterday.
Pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). People with pneumococcal disease can spread the bacteria to others when they cough or sneeze.
The Malaysian Thoracic Society (MTS) said in May 2021 that in Malaysia, pneumonia was the second leading cause of death in 2018, and the principal cause of death for females at 12.8 per cent.
“In an ageing population with a high burden of vaccine-preventable diseases such as pneumococcal pneumonia, vaccines are equally as important in adults as they are in children,” MTS president Assoc Prof Dr Pang Yong Kek, who is also a senior consultant respiratory physician, said then.
“Older adults have a far higher risk of contracting infections and severe complications than younger people, and their impact is often greater, with poorer outcomes.”