Bacolod City boosts pneumonia, flu protection for senior citizens
BACOLOD CITY—Some 1,000 senior citizens here have received vaccination against pneumonia and flu as part of the city government’s efforts to protect them from respiratory infections.
Pneumonia is among the top leading causes of deaths among the aging residents.
Dr. Jovy Vergara, assistant city health officer, said pneumonia ranks second and third in terms of morbidity and mortality, respectively, among those 60 years old and above.
The disease could be lethal or life-threatening for senior citizens, Vergara said during the immunization activity held at the Bacolod Arts, Youth, and Sports Center on Thursday.
“Among the elderly, especially those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], pneumonia is more dangerous as their immune system is weaker,” he added. The health official said most elderly patients seek treatment only during the last stage of the disease.
Pneumonia causes inflammation of the air sacs in one or both lungs. It can be caused by a variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi. Symptoms may include breathing difficulty, coughing, fever and weakness.
Aside from the weakened immune system, elderly patients with pneumonia are more prone to severe complications, hospitalization, and death also due to preexisting health conditions and illnesses, such as diabetes, chronic lung disease, and kidney or heart conditions, among others.
In the Philippines, pneumonia accounted for over 57,000 deaths among Filipinos annually in the past decade.
In 2010 alone, 57,809 deaths due to pneumonia were recorded, making it the top 5 leading causes of death in the country.
Vergara said pneumonia is a vaccinepreventable disease, noting that the government is putting a premium on various programs like free vaccination especially among the elderly.
Persons with disabilities aged 50 years old and above also availed themselves of free pneumonia and flu vaccination during the activity dubbed “Bakunado si Lolo at Lola, Iwas Pulmonya” with the Department of Health-Western Visayas, which provided the vaccines.