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Times of India
10 January 2011
By Durgesh Nandan Jha
New Delhi, India

Prevention Better Than Cure: Adults Opt for Jabs
With severe cold conditions gripping thecapital and reportsof increased cases of chest infections, the number of people seeking vaccination against infectious diseases like influenza and pneumonia is on the rise.

"We advise our patients to get vaccination against infectious disease like pneumonia and influenza, etc.Vaccination for adultsis not a common practice here in India. In western countries vaccination is an important part of their immunization programme. This winter, many patients have come for vaccination at our hospital," said Dr Anoop Mishra, head of the internal medicine department and director of department of diabetic and metabolic diseases at Fortis Hospitals.

Doctors say adults, too, require regular doses of vaccination to check infectiousdiseaseslikeinfluenza and pneumonia. Adult vaccination can help save many lives that are otherwise lost to common flu and chest infections during winters. Elderly people and those at high risk of catching infections, including smokers, diabetics and people suffering from chronic illnesses, are advised to go for vaccination, say doctors.

So, if you though you have had your all your vaccination as a child, think again. Mishra said that vaccination against infectious diseases helps prolong life. It is required especially for people suffering from diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, asthma, cancer and other chronic diseases and those who are above 65 years. "The number of smokers and people taking alcohol on regular basis has increased exponentially over the last few years in cities in India. Such people are at a high risk of contacting lung infections, and they must get themselves vaccinated," added Mishra.

Influenza, which can be prevented with an annual dose of vaccine, is the single largest reason for hospitalization every year. Pneumonia remains a major cause of death among elderly people. The pneumococcal vaccine, which covers 13 strains of virus causing the disease, is required to be given to elderly people once in five years. Routine doses of vaccines against diseases like typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningococcal meningitis and rabies are recommended for adults.

"Many people do not know about the need for vaccination in adults. They believe that vaccines received during childhood are enough. There is no concerted effort to popularize adult vaccination by the government either," said Dr Sanjeev Bagai, pediatric nephrologist and CEO of Batra Hospital.

He said that successful eradication of diseases like smallpox, tetanus and diphtheria in western countries has been possible due to adult vaccination.

Vaccines Recommended
Influenza | One dose/year Pneumococcal | One dose (if age is less than 65 years, repeat after five years) Typhoid vaccine Hepatitis A | Two doses Hepatitis B | Three doses Meningococcus | One dose For whom: All who are older than 65yrs, smokers, diabetics, cancer patients, heart patients, alcoholics

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