Doctors urge elderly get PCV as flu season arrives

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Doctors have urged elderly people and patients of chronic diseases to receive pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) as flu season approaches. Statistics from the Ministry of Health and Welfare show that flu season not only sees a rise in the number of flu patients, but also in the number of streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) infections. Patients with cardiac-pulmonary diseases and diabetes are high-risk groups in terms of pneumococcus infections, the former 6.4-times more likely to be infected than ordinary healthy people, and the latter 3.4-times, the statistics show. Hwang Juey-jen, president of the Taiwan Society of Cardiovascular Interventions, said that pneumococcus infections could result in cardiac arrest or irregular heartbeat in patients of cardio-pulmonary diseases.

Tu Sh-te, president of the Taiwanese Association of Diabetes Educators, said diabetes patients’ immune systems are usually weak, exposing them to higher risks of pneumococcus infections.