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UMSC, Pfizer team up to raise awareness on vaccine preventable diseases

KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 (Bernama) — University Malaya Specialist Centre (UMSC) today conducted a public forum to raise awareness on vaccine for children, adults and travelers that prevent diseases.

UMSC Medical Director Prof Dr Vicknes Waran Mathaneswaran said there had been bad comments on vaccination not just for children but also adults, including people performing hajj.

“If people take preventive measures, it is much healthier, safer and definitely much more cost efficient,” he told Bernama at the Vaccination Awareness Forum at The Vertical, here, today.

The forum was held with the collaboration of pharmaceutical partner Pfizer Malaysia in conjunction with the World Immunisation Week 2019 themed ‘Protected Together, Vaccines Work’ to provide access to medicines that are safe and effective.

Corporate affairs lead for Pfizer Malaysia Noor Yang Azwar Kamaruddin said pneumococcal disease had been alarming and there had been a high fatality rate up to 1.6 million deaths every year among infants and children younger than five years old, globally.

UMSC Medical Director Prof Dr Vicknes Waran Mathaneswaran (second, left) taking a group photo with (from right) Director of Corporate Affairs, Health & Value Pfizer Malaysia Noor Yang Azwar Kamarudin, Paediatric Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Specialist UMSC Dr Eg Kah Peng, Infectious Disease Specialist UMSC Dr Asma Sohail, and Head Dietetic Services University Malaya Specialist Centre (UMSC) Rozanna M Rosly (left) during Vaccination Awareness Forum ‘Protect Your Family Vaccines Work’ at the Vertical Bangsar South today. Pix: Amirul Azmi

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies pneumococcal disease as a major cause of mortality and morbidity and pneumococcal vaccination can help prevent it ,” she said.

Meanwhile in the forum, UMSC Infectious Disease Specialist Dr Asma Sohail said there had been a high number of deaths in 2018 among those not vaccinated against diseases like measles, diphtheria and pertussis..

“There are six measles deaths with all victims not immunised, five diphtheria with four of them not immunised while 22 pertussis cases with 19 of them not immunised,” she said.

UMSC Infectious Disease Specialist Dr Asma Sohail. Pix: Amirul Azmi

She also emphasized on why vaccination for travelers was important as travelers might be exposed to many new diseases in the places they went.

“People are not aware that they are all infectious diseases that they can get when they are travelling. All the illnesses are vaccine-preventable, so just consult the doctor about six to eight weeks before traveling overseas,” she said.

During the forum, participants were also provided with free basic health screening, body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure test, special children’s pneumococcal vaccination package as well as prospective haj pilgrim package.