Saturday, November 18, 2023, 6:00 a.m.
‘Doctor Thawee’ warns
May reach 1 million people
Urges the government to vaccinate for free
“Dr. Thawee” President of the Foundation for the Promotion of Influenza Education Warning that this year the number of patients may exceed 1 million, encouraging the government to speed up free vaccinations. For seniors 65 years and older
On November 17, 2023, Assoc. Prof. (Special) Dr. Thawee Chotipitayasunon The president of the Foundation for the Promotion of Influenza Education said that Influenza is a disease that has outbreaks every year, but over the past 2-3 years there has been an outbreak of COVID-19. This caused the influenza disease to be avoided and temporarily distanced. In addition, the general public did not develop immunity against this disease and had measures to prevent COVID-19. Until the year 2023, it was clearly seen that a large number of people were sick with influenza. According to a report from the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), from January to October 2023, more than 300,000 patients were found, of whom 21 died. But in reality, the number of patients may be more. Because those with mild symptoms did not seek treatment or treatment at the clinic, it was not reported. Therefore, it is believed that this year there may be millions of people who are sick with influenza.
From historical influenza data in Thailand It is different from countries in the northern hemisphere such as the United States, Europe, Japan, and Korea where influenza outbreaks occur only during the winter. By summer the disease will all be gone. But for Thailand, it is at the equator. Therefore, influenza can be found throughout the year. But more patients will be found during the rainy season. Because there is high humidity It’s raining and people gather in groups. students start school term This causes influenza to spread and schoolchildren will bring the influenza virus into their families and the elderly at home. which the group of children is It is ‘at risk’ and is often more severe among young children. While elderly people who are sick with influenza may have very severe symptoms, they are called a ‘risk group’. Young people can also get sick, but most of them are not severe. It can be seen that influenza can affect all age groups. And this disease will be with us forever. The influenza vaccine is therefore beneficial for people of all ages.”
Associate Professor (Special) Dr. Thawee said that A study in Thailand in the case of receiving treatment for influenza found that there were both direct and indirect economic losses. The study found that the burden of influenza in Thailand has a total treatment cost of approximately 1,100 million baht per year and an additional 1,300 million baht in indirect costs, including a total economic loss. It is an amount of 2,400 million baht per year. The medical profession is researching methods of disease prevention and control that are cost-effective. The most cost-effective is the ‘vaccine’ and the government sector has brought influenza vaccines to provide free services to groups at risk of becoming severely ill, such as young children, people with congenital diseases, obesity, and pregnant women. and the elderly
for Thailand that enter the aging society, there should be management policies or guidelines for prevention to help reduce the spread of influenza. And increase the vaccination rate more conveniently, such as Drive-Thru channels, like in the United States or Europe where there is a team of nurses or multidisciplinary professionals that can provide services very conveniently.
“Influenza vaccine has the highest acceptance among Thai civil society. It is a vaccine that has been developed and used for more than 50 years and is highly safe. It can be considered that the ‘influenza vaccine’ is very cost-effective and cost-effective. Especially among the elderly who are at risk of death. Helps reduce the severity of illness symptoms severe complications hospital stay and loss of life If the government considers increasing the number of vaccines among the elderly and people with congenital diseases who are at risk of severe illness and death, they will have more opportunities to access the vaccine. Including considering expanding the free injection group to older children. This is a group at risk of bringing influenza to the family and the elderly in the home. It will greatly reduce the economic burden both directly and indirectly,” said Assoc. Prof. (Special) Dr. Thawee.
Prof. Dr. Sasisophin Kiattiburanakul Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases Department of Internal Medicine Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital Mahidol University provides information that Elderly people are often at high risk from 3 main factors, the first and most important of which is 1) declining immunity or immunity that decreases as people get older. Unable to fight germs like during youth Makes it easy to have a chance of infection. Including if infected, it can be severe. 2) Elderly people often have co-morbidities. For example, some elderly people may have lung disease, emphysema. When you are sick with influenza, you may experience shortness of breath or have the infection spread to your lungs and your symptoms will be more severe than normal. Or some people may have existing heart disease. Being sick with influenza may make your heart disease worse as well. or if you are sick with diabetes It will cause the body’s immune system to be poor. Because the cells that are going to eat germs will not work well. which all cause complications due to other diseases as well, and 3) the elderly still have malnutrition, that is, they eat less and cannot eat all 5 food groups, which can easily result in disease. Including severe disease easily
This factor is therefore an important reason why ‘elderly people’ should get the flu vaccine. To reduce the severity of the disease Reduce the incidence of pneumonia from viruses entering the lungs. Reduce illness that requires hospital admission and reduce death Due to the practice of protecting against infectious diseases in daily life, such as wearing a mask. Frequent hand washing and staying away from infected people It will not be possible all the time. Or if you do it, you still have a chance of getting sick as well.
The Infectious Diseases Association of Thailand It has been recommended that, in fact, everyone should get the flu vaccine. It can be injected from age 6 months and up. Currently, Thailand has 2 types of influenza vaccines: standard dose influenza vaccine with 15 micrograms of antigen per 1 strain per dose. Can be injected from 6 months of age up to the elderly. The high dose influenza vaccine contains 60 micrograms of antigen per strain per dose. It is another option for seniors aged 65 years and over because studies have found that it reduces symptomatic infections more than the standard dose of influenza vaccine by approximately 24 percent and also reduces hospital admissions from influenza and pneumonia more than the standard dose. standard Including reducing deaths from influenza higher than the standard dose. There may be slightly more pain at the injection site than the standard size.
Assoc. Prof. (Special) Dr. Thawee concluded that The important thing that I would like to recommend in getting the influenza vaccine is that people do not need to wait for one year to complete. Every year the new season’s vaccine comes in between April – May and can be injected immediately. Just keep a distance of at least 6 months from the previous vaccine. High-risk groups designated by the government can get the shot for free at government nursing services. Or ask the Department of Disease Control hotline 1422. For those who are not at risk, the injection can be given at government and private service units. You will have to take care of your own expenses.