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House panel OKs measures on jabs vs. some diseases for elderly

House Special Committee on Senior Citizens has approved two measures seeking to provide all senior citizens with free vaccination against various illnesses.

House Bills No. 2097 and 4458, authored by Senior Citizens Party-list Rep. Rodolfo Ordanes, and Paranaque 2nd District Rep. Gus Tambunting, seek to provide the country’s senior citizens with free vaccination against diseases including influenza virus, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, pneumococcal disease, shingles, measles, and other vaccinations deemed necessary by the Department of Health.

The bills will amend Section 4 of Republic Act (RA) No. 7432, as amended by the Expanded Senior Citizens Act (RA No. 9994) of 2010 once enacted into law.

Ordanes and Tambunting cited data that senior citizens in the Philippines have the highest proportion of flu virus-related mortality, accounting for 67.1 percent of all risk groups, while pneumonia remains as the second leading cause of death among the elderly.

Ordanes said providing all senior citizens free access to vaccines will prevent hospitalization and death among the elderly.

RA 9994 currently provides free vaccination against the influenza virus and pneumococcal disease for indigent senior citizen patients.

“It’s high time that our legislators review and broaden the law’s provisions. We urge our policymakers to back the amendment of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act to provide our senior citizens with the health benefits and protection they deserve,” Ordanes said. —LBG, GMA Integrated News