ILOILO CITY: The Department of Health (DOH) is making available to all senior citizens the free pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccination in respective health centers here, according to DOH Regional Dir. Marlyn Convocar. DOH has launched the Expanded Pneumococcal Immunization Program not only for indigent citizens but also for all senior citizens – aged 60 and 65 years old. Pneumococcal disease is a leading cause of serious illness worldwide. The pneumococcus bacteria causes illnesses – pneumonia, meningitis, middle ear and sinus infections, and a condition called sepsis, which is an infection of the bloodstream. Age related-impairment of the immune system compounded with decrease of physical activity and poor nutrition increase the risk of severe pneumococcal infection. The DOH Field Health Services Information System (FHSIS) showed that pneumonia, along with acute lower respiratory tract infections, rank as the second leading cause of morbidity among Filipinos in 2013. Statistics point to pneumonia as one of the leading causes of mortality among Filipinos along with heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.