Thursday, October 18, 2007

Recommended Vaccinations for the Elderly

Singapore has a very effective vaccination program for our children and most parents are very diligent about vaccinating their kids. However, when it comes to the elderly, there is much room for improvement. I hope this article will encourage you all to get your parents and grandparents to the GP to get their vaccinations done.

The elderly, especially those with chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma or other medical conditions do benefit a lot from vaccinations. It is a fact that influenza and pneumonia are the leading causes of death in the elderly. These diseases can be prevented by giving a simple vaccination.

So what are the recommended vaccinations for the elderly?

1. Influenza Vaccine

The "Flu" vaccine is giving yearly and is useful for preventing the "Flu" which often leads to lung infections and eventual hospitalization. It is recommended for all adults above 50 years old or adults of any age with medical problems.

More info HERE

2. Pneumoccal Vaccine

This vaccination is recommended for those above above 65 years of age or adults of any age with medical problems. It is useful to prevent the elderly from developing lung infection (pneumonia). A second dose is given after five years for people with medical problems or if the first dose was given before the age of 65.

More info HERE

New Vaccine against Herpes Zoster to be released soon!

Perhaps you know of someone who had Herpes Zoster or what is commonly called "Seh Zhua" (Appearance of the Snake). It is a painful condition that affects the skin in a certain part of the body and even when the condition subsides, patients can be left with constant pain (post herpetic neuralgia). The Good News is that there is a new vaccine which has been approved which should be available soon in Singapore. It is recommended for adults above 60 years of age and only one dose is needed. I will write more about Herpes Zoster when the vaccine becomes available.


If you have elderly living in your household, do encourage them to visit the GP to get their vaccinations done. These vaccinations are recommended for the HEALTHY elderly but especially so for those who have medical problems. Remember that vaccinations are potential life savers!

Reference: The Singapore Family Physician Vol 33 (3) July-Sep 2007 "Value of Vaccination"

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