By Chito Chavez
To ensure the wellness of the city’s elders in their twilight years, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista gave the thumbs up to the ordinance that provides free anti-shingles vaccination to all registered senior residents of the city.
Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is a viral infection whose symptoms include painful skin rashes caused by the varicella zoster virus—the same virus that causes chicken pox. It mostly affects persons 60 years old and above.
Introduced by 3rd District Councilor Eufemio Lagumbay, Ordinance 2760-2018 states that shingles may also result to serious complications such as scarring, hearing, and vision problems.
“Anti-shingles vaccines can reduce the risk of developing shingles and the complications associated with it. It can either prevent the shingles from occurring at all or make them less painful when they occur,” the ordinance read.
Reports from the city’s Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) revealed there are 486,284 registered senior citizens in the city as of April 2018.
Bautista said “all of them will receive free anti-shingles treatment every three years.’’
A newly registered senior citizen can also avail of the vaccination within three months after registration with the OSCA.
The ordinance is to be administered by the QC Health Department (QCHD) through the barangay health center to senior citizen residents, depending on the supply availability of zoster vaccine live or Zotavax vaccine.
Bautista explained the QCHD and OSCA are jointly responsible for documentation and the collection of data generation on the number of shingles cases among the city’s senior citizen residents.
The conduct of massive information and education campaign on shingles shall also be undertaken by the two offices.
He explained the funds necessary for the anti-shingles vaccination and information campaign against the disease will be included in the next annual budget of the city.
The city mayor said P20-million shall be allocated for the vaccination and information dissemination campaign which will be sourced from the one percent allocation of the QC Senior Citizens Fund for its programs and projects.
“The free anti-shingles vaccination will greatly benefit the senior citizens of QC who have significantly contributed to the development of our city as well as our nation and who are continuously imparting their wise and noble guidance and support to their families and their communities,” the ordinance stated. (Chito A. Chavez)