Medical experts have advocated improved adult vaccination campaigns in Nigeria, saying this will help in fighting emerging diseases.
The expert spoke at an adult vaccination media webinar organised by pharmaceutical and biotechnology firm, Pfizer Incorporation.
A professor of Medicine and consultant physician at the Lagos State University College of Medicine, Ikeja, Olufunke Adeyeye, said pneumococcal disease was not getting the required attention, despite challenges arising from the disease burden.
She said, “A systematic review of infections in individuals older than 65 years found that coronary heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, were all associated with a significantly higher risk of acquiring pneumococcal infections.”
“Immunisation in Nigeria, so far, has been primarily directed towards infants and children, but vaccination is as important for adults as it is for children.”
Also, the head of the geriatrics unit at the National Hospital, Abuja, Ogugua Osi-Ogbu, described vaccine-preventable diseases as infectious diseases caused by viruses or bacteria that could be prevented with vaccines.
“Pneumococcal disease is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in older adults. Many high-income countries recommend pneumococcal vaccination in older adults but, even where policies are in place, coverage is often low. Very few low and/or mid-income countries currently provide pneumococcal vaccination to older adults as a part of a routine programme.”
“Vaccines are not just for kids; adults need vaccines too. Even if fully vaccinated as a child, adults may be at risk for other diseases due to age, job, lifestyle, travel, or health condition.
“Vaccines don’t just protect you; they protect those around you, too. Vaccines protect individuals against specific diseases, but they also help those who have not had the vaccine by creating “herd immunity”. This protects people vulnerable to the disease, such as babies too young to be vaccinated, people undergoing chemotherapy, the elderly, and people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons,” Osi-Ogbu, said.
The medical director for sub-Saharan Africa of Pfizer Incorporation, Kodjo Soroh, said the company had a long history in vaccine research and development.
He said through the development of innovative delivery systems and technologies, the firm had created scalable solutions that address the prevention of deadly bacterial infections.
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