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Pneumococcal Vaccine Now FREE In Klinik Kesihatans And Mandatory Beginning 1 Dec 2020

Pneumococcal Vaccine Now FREE In Klinik Kesihatans And Mandatory Beginning 1 Dec 2020

If there’s a way to protect our children, why not?

Anne Dorall

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The latest National Immunisation Schedule for Malaysian children will now include the pneumococcal vaccine beginning today at all government health clinics.

Additionally, babies or children born in 2020 are able to get the vaccination and subsequent doses and booster shots for free as well, even if they have received the initial dose at a private healthcare center.

However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, parents must make an appointment at the Klinik Kesihatan beforehand to avoid congestion.

Why It’s Necessary

In Malaysia, the pneumococcal disease is one of the most widespread, vaccine-preventable diseases. The disease can lead to serious and potentially fatal outcomes, and some strains are resistant to antibiotics, which makes prevention even more important.

The disease is caused by the bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae, which can result in different kinds of infections in the lung, in the membrane surrounding the spinal cord or brain, in the blood, or even in the ear.

A child getting his shots.
(Credit: Freepik)

Thankfully, vaccines for the pneumococcal disease is the first line of defense and has an extremely low chance of side-effects, which makes it crucial to prevent infection and spreading of the disease.

Additionally, why it’s important for young children to get the vaccine is because it’s extremely common among the very young and the elderly.

The bacteria can spread easily through contaminated surfaces or from person-to-person through contact, sneezing, or coughing. Some can even carry the bacteria without showing symptoms but are able to spread it to others.

Because children are more likely to catch it, pneumococcal disease can spread quickly within schools and the like.

Before this, the pneumococcal vaccine was optional but recommended by the Ministry of Health.

The Vaccine

The PCV10 pneumococcal vaccine was chosen by the Malaysian government to be used under the National Immunisation Programme. However, it protects against fewer bacterial strains compared to the PCV13 vaccine.

Still, the 3-dose pneumococcal vaccine will be made available at all government health facilities. The first two doses should be administered at ages four months and six months, with a booster shot at the age of 15 months.

This means that more children will be immune to the disease, greatly reducing the spread of the disease within the community.

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