Fully vaccinated helps adults, especially the elderly, prevent many dangerous infectious diseases and avoid the risk of serious illness if co-infected with Covid-19.
This is the recommendation shared in the online seminar “What vaccinations do adults need?” broadcast on VnExpress on January 7 with the participation of Doctor Truong Huu Khanh, Former Head of the Department of Infection – Neurology, Children’s Hospital 1 Ho Chi Minh City and Specialist Doctor 1 Bach Thi Chinh, Medical Director, VNVC Immunization System . During the program, the two experts explained the risk of many dangerous infectious diseases in adults and advised on which vaccines should be vaccinated to protect health, especially in the context of the Covid-19 epidemic.
‘Pathogens do not discriminate by age’
According to Dr. Truong Huu Khanh, the human immune cycle is like a parabolic graph: when a child is vaccinated, the antibody increases, but when he grows up, after a long time without vaccination, the antibody goes down.
“The older a person is, the more the immune function declines. People in their 20s and 30s may still be healthy, but 50-60 years old and older are very susceptible to diseases because the body is no longer resistant to the effects of harmful effects. In addition, the elderly often have underlying diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, impaired lung, liver and kidney function, so once infected, the risk of aggravation and death is high.” , BS Khanh said.
Dr. Bach Thi Chinh added that there are diseases that only happen when they are young and don’t see them when they grow up, such as hand, foot and mouth disease. However, there are also many dangerous diseases that children or adults can contract such as dengue fever, encephalitis, meningitis, chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella, especially lung diseases. like flu, whooping cough, diphtheria…
According to statistics of world health experts, adults with chickenpox often get worse than children. With pneumococcal diseases such as meningitis, pneumonia, sepsis, children under 2 years old and adults over 65 years old are high-risk subjects, with a higher mortality rate. Particularly flu, from children under 5 years old to pregnant women, the elderly are susceptible.
“The pathogens, regardless of age, are children or adults, they always exist in the environment and when there are favorable conditions, they will invade the body and develop. should have antibodies and not show symptoms to the outside. It is worrisome that they still carry the disease in their body and can spread it to their loved ones. Therefore, anyone can get the disease, should not be psychological. Subjectively, adults do not need to prevent disease, “said Dr. Chinh.
Adult vaccines required
The two experts recommend three important vaccines that adults need to get to prevent disease: influenza, pneumococcal and pertussis. These are vaccines that help increase resistance to the respiratory system and protect the lungs, especially for high-risk groups such as pregnant women, the elderly, immunocompromised people and people with underlying medical conditions.
Dr. Chinh said that Vietnam is a tropical country, flu occurs all year round, but the peak time is in the summer or near Tet and after Tet. Influenza can increase the risk of pneumonia 6 times, and heart disease hundreds of times. In Vietnam, according to the Ministry of Health, an average of more than 800,000 people get flu each year, with the most common viruses being influenza A (H3N2, H1N1) and two strains of influenza B (Yamagata and Victoria).
“Currently, Vietnam has a quadrivalent vaccine to prevent up to 4 strains of the most severe influenza viruses. Children from 6 months old to the elderly should all be vaccinated. Because the flu virus mutates continuously, it is necessary to get a booster shot. this vaccine every year to optimize disease prevention, “said Dr. Chinh.
Pneumococcal diseases also occur year round and are very dangerous. Pneumococcus is the main cause of pneumonia, concentrated in groups under 5 years old and over 54-64 years old, especially high in people over 85 years old. This virus normally resides in the oropharynx and spreads rapidly in crowded environments.
“Adults also need to be vaccinated against pertussis again because antibodies from childhood shots have decreased. Adults with pertussis do not have severe symptoms but can still spread pathogens to children and the elderly in the family. family when they have not been vaccinated,” advised Dr. Khanh.
In the context of the Covid-19 epidemic, experts say that adults need to be vaccinated against these diseases even more to avoid the risk of exacerbations, the possibility of hospitalization and the mortality rate if co-infected with Covid-19. Research shows that people with Covid-19 who receive the flu vaccine have a significantly reduced mortality rate, while those who catch the flu and Covid-19 at the same time are twice as likely to die as people with Covid alone. -19. Pneumococcal disease, if co-infected with Covid-19, the mortality rate will also increase 8 times.
“Co-infection with many diseases with Covid-19 will certainly increase the burden on patients. Therefore, diseases with preventive vaccines should be vaccinated as soon as possible to both avoid the risk of co-infection and avoid confusing symptoms. symptoms with Covid-19, making it difficult to diagnose and treat,” said Dr. Khanh.
In addition, experts recommend that adults also need to be vaccinated with vaccines: chickenpox, measles – mumps – rubella … to prevent seasonal diseases “just come up again”…, HPV vaccine – effects The main cause of cervical cancer in women, vaccines against viruses that cause hepatitis A, B…
Chinh said the value of vaccination is not only to protect yourself but also your loved ones and the community.
“When it comes to vaccinations, we often think of children. However, the Covid-19 epidemic has helped adults realize that they also need to be vaccinated to prevent disease. Adults should go to the vaccination center to be consulted by a doctor. Ask about vaccines that need to be injected based on age, risk or underlying disease. Vaccines can be given at the same time, so don’t miss the opportunity to get vaccinated,” emphasized Dr. Khanh.