With the advent of the flu season, the chief of University Hospital encouraged students and employees to avail of the flu vaccine which they offer half the market price.
Dr. Aurfeli Taganahan-Emperio, hospital chief, said in a text message: “We promoted flu vaccination but not many availed due to the price.”
With this, the CMU Hospital linked with A.P.E. Prime Biologicals Marketing, Inc. in offering 50 percent discount from the regular flu vaccine available in the market. The regular market price is at P900 per shot while the discounted price is at P450 per shot.
According to Ellen Bilar, university nurse, flu vaccine offered by the university is lower compared to pharmacy prices since it is tailored for the budget-conscious parents and students.
In the Philippines, flu or influenza virus is considered a leading cause of illness. According to the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control of the Department of Health (NCDPC-DOH), one out of 100 Filipinos gets sick of influenza every year. Influenza is also responsible for up to 500,000 deaths worldwide.
In Region X, influenza cases are alarmingly higher as it already reached 6.21 percent of the total 1,924 influenza cases reported from January 2017-July 2017.
Based on last year’s data from the Department of Health Disease Surveillance Statistics, 8.54 percent of the 12,022 total reported cases were from the region.
“Influenza virus is transmitted from one person to another in droplets expelled during sneezes and coughs. When a person breathes in the virus laden droplets, it spreads in the respiratory route,” said Dr. Emperio. “Flu virus could spread easily in crowded areas such as malls, churches, schools, jeepneys, buses, and work places.”
She added that symptoms of influenza are cough, colds, chills, fever, fatigue, and muscle aches and complications can even lead to bronchitis and pneumonia.
The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) recommended that flu shot should be mandatory for health care providers. In a PCHRD report, vaccines have to be administered annually not only because they confer protection for only 12 months but also because the prevalent type and strains of the virus vary from year to year.
Annually, the manufacturers change the composition of vaccine based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Nurse Elie Esguerra of A.P.E. Prime said in a phone interview that Influvac, the one available at CMU Hospital, is a trivalent flu vaccine which covers three strains, specifically the H1N1 or the Michigan like virus, H3N2 or the Hong Kong strain, and Birsbane strain.
Dr. Emperio added that flu vaccine can be given to children as early as one year-old.
“Availing [of] the program will spare you from inconveniences, trauma, and complications. Vaccination is cost-effective because it keeps patients with flu from being absent in school or work, saves time and money for medicines, and other expenses apart from the possible complications,” she said.
Aside from the flu vaccine, the University Hospital also offers 50 percent discount on immunization services for Hepatitis A and B, pneumonia, dengue, cervical cancer, and even rabies.
“We also monitor for tuberculosis during enrolment and on-the-job-training. For food and water disease we also advocate Hepatitis A vaccination. Then we do water analysis every quarter,” she added. (IADalipe-Neri)