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“You Are Our Best Shot” Against Pneumococcal Pneumonia

The Malaysian Thoracic Society, with the support from Pfizer Malaysia launches “You Are Our Best Shot” campaign to normalise adult vaccination and improve health literacy, leading to a higher uptake rate of vaccination among older adults for a healthier Malaysia

•    About 1 in 2 surveyed thinks only babies and children are susceptible to pneumococcal disease . 
•    58 per cent of survey respondents cited poor awareness as one of the main barriers that prevent people from getting vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia1. Many also thought that only people with chronic conditions should get vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia1.
•    A digital resource hub known as preventpneumonia.com.my was launched as part of the campaign to improve health literacy as well as address misconceptions about pneumococcal pneumonia and vaccination.

KUALA LUMPUR, 28 April 2021 – The Malaysian Thoracic Society (MTS) supported by Pfizer Malaysia, today announced the launch of “You Are Our Best Shot”, an integrated public awareness campaign to encourage pneumococcal vaccination among older adults in Malaysia as an integral part of healthy ageing and public health.

Launched in conjunction with World Immunisation Week, the campaign is anchored by a digital resource hub known as PreventPneumonia.com.my. The website provides information about pneumococcal pneumonia, engagement tools such as risk factor quiz, guidance on disease prevention, downloadable patient leaflet, as well as video stories of “vaccine heroes” that would inspire Malaysians to take charge of their health and expand prevention through vaccination.

Adult vaccination: an integral part of healthy ageing and public health
An online survey was conducted by MTS in early April 2021 to find out how much Malaysians know about pneumococcal pneumonia, their behavioural patterns in relation to healthcare choices, and their perceptions on vaccination. The survey was supported by Pfizer Malaysia.
 


Based on the survey results, more than half of the respondents (62 per cent) are not aware that pneumococcal pneumonia can be prevented through vaccination, and many also believed that only babies and children are susceptible to the disease1. In fact, older adults (aged 50 and above) are predisposed to the disease because of their impaired gag reflex, impaired mucociliary function, declining immunity, and presence of comorbid conditions . This is especially worrying because Malaysia is expected to be an ageing nation by 2030 and it is projected that 15 per cent of its population will be 60 years old and above .

“In an ageing population with a high burden of vaccine-preventable diseases such as pneumococcal pneumonia, vaccines are equally as important in adults as they are in children. Older adults have a far higher risk of contracting infections and severe complications than younger people, and their impact is often greater, with poorer outcomes,” said Assoc Prof Dr Pang Yong Kek, President, Malaysian Thoracic Society and Senior Consultant Respiratory Physician.

“As the saying goes ‘prevention is better than cure”, and this certainly rings true, from cost-effectiveness, productivity, use of healthcare resources and risk to others. Pneumonia in the elderly can be very serious – even deadly. We hope the campaign can raise awareness and educate people that vaccines are not just for babies and children. Everyone has a critical role to play in ensuring people of all ages have the opportunity to prevent illness through vaccination,” added Assoc Prof Dr Pang Yong Kek.

The survey also discovered that 71 per cent of respondents have at least encouraged their parents or elderly loved ones for a medical check-up in the past year, and doctors remain the primary or most trusted source of medical information1. Assoc Prof Dr Pang emphasised the importance of addressing a patient and caregiver’s concerns or worries about vaccinations.

“As a healthcare practitioner, I implore my peers and colleagues to proactively raise the topic of vaccination and debunk misinformation. With the commitment of multiple parties, not only we will be able to protect ourselves but those around us by making it more difficult for an infectious disease to spread. This is known as “herd immunity,” and is yet another example of the unique public health benefits of vaccination,” added Assoc Prof Dr Pang Yong Kek.

“You Are Our Best Shot” in expanding prevention through vaccination
Pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). People with the pneumococcal disease can spread the bacteria to others when they cough or sneeze . Globally, pneumonia affects approximately 450 million people a year, especially the elderly and those with co-morbidities ,6. It is a major cause of death among all age groups, resulting in 1.4 million deaths in 2010 (7 per cent of the world's yearly total) and 2.38 million deaths in 2016 (the fourth leading cause of death in the world)5, . In Malaysia, pneumonia was the second leading cause of death in 2018, and the principal cause of death for females at 12.8 percent 

“We are often unaware of the impact that infectious diseases can have on ourselves and our loved ones.  They can put us at risk of serious medical conditions . Ongoing vaccination is a crucial cornerstone in keeping our communities healthy, from many serious infectious diseases at every stage of life . It is important for people to consult their doctors on how they can protect themselves and their loved ones against vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Ms. Luksanawan Thangpaibool, Country Manager, Pfizer Malaysia & Brunei.  

“At Pfizer, we believe in a world where no one should suffer from a vaccine-preventable disease. For over a century, our vaccines have helped to protect people against life-threatening infectious diseases such as pneumococcal pneumonia. Hand in hand with the healthcare providers, patient advocates, professional organisations, and policymakers, we seek to extend the protective power of vaccination as broadly as possible. Today, we are proud to be partnering with MTS for the launch of “You Are Our Best Shot” and just like this campaign tagline, we are counting on you to keep yourself and your family healthy. You have the power to help prevent disease,” added Ms. Luksanawan Thangpaibool.

To learn more about pneumococcal pneumonia, please consult your doctor and visit PreventPneumonia.com.my.

About the study methodology

A total of 500 respondents were randomly surveyed in a web-based questionnaire during a two-week period from 13 April 2021 to 20 April 2021.

About Malaysian Thoracic Society 
The Malaysian Thoracic Society is a professional medical body that represents the respiratory medical
fraternity with the objective of advancing knowledge and practice of respiratory medicine in Malaysia. It draws members from varying disciplines, including doctors and allied health professionals who provide respiratory services in hospitals and the community. For more information about MTS, please visit http://www1.mts.org.my/ and follow us on Facebook for regular updates.

Pfizer Inc.: Breakthroughs that change patients’ lives 
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