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陈笃生医院研究增加年长者流感疫苗注射

陈笃生医院的顾问医生巴纳比·杨指出,流感疫苗的设 计主要是应对南半球或北半球冬季时出现的流感潮。但 在新加坡,国人全年都可能患上流行性感冒,因此有必 要重新检视年长者注射疫苗的频率。

Lianhe Zaobao (28 June 2017) - 注射流行性感冒疫苗约半年 后,疫苗产生的抵抗力会明显减 弱。陈笃生医院对200名年长者展 开研究,测试年长者在注射疫苗 的半年后再注射一剂疫苗,能否 显著增强年长者的免疫力。

卫生部和保健促进局目前建 议人们每年注射流感疫苗一次, 尤其是患慢性疾病、免疫功能较 差者和年长者等高风险群。卫生 部也已从2014年起允许特定高风 险群,用保健储蓄支付流感疫苗 费用。   

陈笃生医院传染病与流行 病学研究所顾问医生巴纳比·杨 (Barnaby Young)受访时指出, 流感疫苗的设计主要是应对南半 球或北半球进入冬季时出现的流 感潮,但在新加坡等热带国家, 除了12月至2月和6月至8月这两个 其他国家的冬季时节,国人全年 都可能患上流行性感冒,因此有 必要重新检视年长者注射疫苗的 频率。

因流感死亡比率 65岁以上者高出11.3倍

本地一项于2006年发表的研 究显示,与本地所有人口相比, 年龄超过65岁者因流感或相关因 素而死亡的比率高出11.3倍。   

流感病患除了高烧和肌肉酸 痛等病状,肺部、肾脏和脑部也 可能受感染,病情严重者还须在 加护病房治疗。巴纳比说,由于 国人一般认为流行性感冒只是小 病,也就觉得没必要注射疫苗。   

他指出,年长者一般因正常 老化而免疫系统变弱,在注射疫 苗的六个月后,抵抗力或已跌至 低于应有的标准水平,这时若再 注射一剂疫苗,有可能让抵抗力 恢复到应有水平。   

目前全球市场上推出的流感 疫苗都必须达到以下标准水平: 所有注射疫苗者当中,至少有 60%体内的流感病毒抗体量须高 于血清保护率(seroprotection)水 平。   

值得一提的是,抗体量即使 高于血清保护率水平,也不意味 着注射疫苗者就百分之百不会感 染流感,而只是降低感染流感概 率50%。举例来说,没有注射疫 苗的人口中,如果感染流感的概 率是10%,那注射疫苗者当中只 有5%会感染流感。

试验预计10月结束 明年首季发布结果

巴纳比的研究找来200名来自 乐龄活动中心的65岁及以上年长 者,参与为期360天的试验。试验 预计10月结束,明年首季发布结 果。   

他透露,不少参与试验者从 未注射过流感疫苗,除了费用因 素,很多人也误解注射疫苗会带 来很多副作用,但他们注射后都 发现其实不然。   

巴纳比同时也展开另一项 测试年长者在注射流感疫苗后, 免疫系统会如何反应的研究, 希望了解下来能用什么生物指标 (biomarkers),预测哪些人在注 射疫苗后会有更好的反应和抵抗 力。   

有兴趣了解详情或报名参加 研究者,可拨电6357-7442(平 日上午9时至下午4时)或电邮至 iideresearch@ttsh.com.sg,咨询传 染病研究诊所。

TTSH conducts research on increasing effects of influenza vaccination in elderly

TTSH conducted a research to study whether a 6-monthly influenza vaccination booster would increase the immunity of seniors against the virus. Dr Barnaby Young (Consultant, Institute of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology, TTSH) said that the influenza vaccination is designed to target the Southern or Northern Hemisphere influenza seasons respectively. However as Singapore is a tropical country, besides the two influenza seasons from December to February as well as from June to August, Singaporeans are at risk of infecting flu all year round. Hence there is a need to focus on assessing the frequency of influenza vaccination necessary for seniors. As the immune system weakens with age, seniors are particularly susceptible to flu infections and potentially life-threatening complications. Dr Barnaby added that Singaporeans tend to think that influenza is just a minor illness and neglect the importance of vaccination. Explaining about the research, Dr Barnaby highlighted that due to their age, the immunity from the influenza vaccination may not be as effective six months after receiving the vaccination so giving seniors a booster during then may bring their immunity up to how it should be. For the study, Dr Barnaby recruited 200 seniors aged 65 years old and above to take part in this 360-day trial. It is targeted to complete in October this year. He also said that most of these seniors have never received any influenza vaccination before due to various misconceptions such as the possible side effects but these were debunked after they took the jab. Article also talked about another concurrent research that is looking into the immune response of seniors after taking the influenza vaccination, in hope to understand what are the biomarkers that can predict who are the people with a better reaction and immunity after vaccination. It mentioned that those who are interested can email or call the TTSH Infectious Diseases Research Clinic at iideresearch@ttsh.com.sg or 6357-7442 (weekdays 9am to 4pm).


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Source: Lianhe Zaobao © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction