SMU organises free immunisation drive for needy elderly

Over 300 underprivileged elderly will receive a free wellness screening, followed by a pneumococcal disease (PD) vaccination next week as part of Inspirar, a student-led community service project.

Organised by students from the Singapore Management University (SMU), the project was made possible by the donation of 330 doses of the vaccine and $8,000 by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

The event, to take place on August 13 and 14, will be held on SMU campus grounds. It will benefit the members of 10 volunteer welfare organisations, including Hong Kah North Day Care Centre and LIONS Befrienders.
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Previously indicated only for children under five, the PD vaccine was approved earlier this year for the use on adults aged 50 and above.

The most common form of PD, pneumonia, is the third highest killer disease behind cancer and coronary heart disease in Singapore. In 2010, pneumonia was responsible for 2,764 deaths here.

The condition, which causes severe inflammation of the lungs, is also the fourth highest cause of hospitalisation in Singapore, Pfizer said.

As Singaporeans age, the risk of death from pneumonia grows higher.

SMU’s Inspirar project was formed with the aim of inspiring and instilling the importance of healthy and active ageing in senior citizens by bridging the gap between the youth and elderly communities.

“It is through projects and activities such as these that we prepare our students to be responsible citizens demonstrating leadership and integrity,” added Emily Hogan, an assistant director of the Centre for Social Responsibility at SMU.