EMPLOYERS will benefit from promoting vaccination as it boosts worker productivity and contributes to economic well-being by reducing the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases, an occupational medicine expert said. 

“It’s really up to each workplace to try to engage the employees with regard to accepting that vaccination has its benefits — not just for the workforce, but for communities, households, and families,” said Dr. Anna Sofia Victoria S. Fajardo, national president of the Philippine College of Occupational Medicine, Inc., at a Nov. 9 event organized by the American Chamber of Commerce and Pfizer.  

“This vaccination program … is worth investing in not just for the economic development and growth of your own companies, but also for our communities and our country,” she added.  

Reducing out-of-pocket costs for vaccination, sending reminders, and making employees aware of the benefits of vaccination will increase uptake in the workplace, said Dr. Fajardo. 

Workplace vaccination, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reduces cost by reducing absences due to illness, resulting in improved productivity. It also improves morale among employees.  

Vaccination against pneumonia, in particular, can help mitigate the incidence of one of the 10 leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the Philippines.  

According to Philippine Health Insurance Corp., pneumonia topped the claims count at 190,831 cases, followed by hypertensive emergencies at 107,978 and dengue fever at 101,777. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia package placed 10th at 46,871 claims. 

Pneumonia is an inflammation and infection of the lung and commonly affects the very young (less than two years old) and the very old (65 years old and above). There are different types of pneumonia, including viral pneumonia, which is responsible for a third of all pneumonia cases.  

The US CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for those aged 65 and above and those 5 and below. The centers also recommend it for those between 2 to 64 who have medical conditions such as immune deficiencies.  

As there are two types of adult pneumococcal vaccines listed in the clinical guidelines for adult immunization by the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Inc., individuals are advised to consult their doctor as to the specific dose and sequence they need.   

“As the average age of the population rises, the issue of vaccinations for adults is becoming more important,” said Dr. Imee M. Mateo, president of the Philippine College of Chest Physicians, who noted that one in five people will be over 60 by 2050

“Especially us in the workforce, we cannot afford to get sick,” she added.  

Nov. 12 is World Pneumonia Day. — Patricia B. Mirasol