25,400 doses of flu vaccine distributed islandwide – Tufton

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25,400 doses of flu vaccine distributed islandwide – Tufton

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tuftontoday disclosed that a total of 25,400 doses of trivalent influenza vaccine have been distributed through the regional health authority network.

Speaking to the House of Representatives, Tufton said 2,370 doses of the vaccine were administered in November and December 2019 based preliminary reports from the National Epidemiology database.

“I wish to implore persons who fall in the high-risk groups, to ensure that they are vaccinated against the flu. At the same time, I encourage private healthcare providers to procure the influenza vaccine through private distributors, in order to provide for the general population,” Tufton said.

The influenza viruses, which circulate worldwide, can affect anybody in any age group; however, children, people with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, and the elderly are at high-risk for complications from flu.

Tufton told the house that 2019 data from the ministry show that people 60 years and older, who are among the high-risk groups, are being severely affected.

He noted that between January and June 2019, there were six deaths from the flu Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic 09 which is one of the two strains of the flu currently circulating the island.

The ministry also confirmed the presence of the Influenza A H3N2 virus in the island.

According to the minister, the flu vaccine is available free of cost in the public health system to high-risk members of the population, including healthcare workers; children and the elderly with chronic illnesses; pregnant women; individuals who are institutionalised or in state care; and non-health frontline workers.

Tufton said the vaccination for influenza is recommended annually, before the start of the flu season.

He also reminded members of the public to practise good hygiene, including washing hands with soap and water; and covering the mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing, which will help to prevent the transmission of the virus.

The Minister added that people with the flu should get adequate rest, drink plenty of fluids, avoid close contact with other people and avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.

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