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  • A total of 25,400 doses of trivalent influenza vaccine (northern hemisphere formulation) has been purchased and distributed through the regional health authority network.
  • This was disclosed by Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, in a statement to the House of Representatives on January 14.
  • He informed that preliminary reports from the National Epidemiology database show that 2,370 doses of the vaccine were administered in November and December 2019.

A total of 25,400 doses of trivalent influenza vaccine (northern hemisphere formulation) has been purchased and distributed through the regional health authority network.

This was disclosed by Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, in a statement to the House of Representatives on January 14.

He informed that preliminary reports from the National Epidemiology database show that 2,370 doses of the vaccine were administered in November and December 2019.

“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,” Dr. Tufton said.

The Ministry has made available the flu vaccine 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.

Dr. 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 persons with the flu should get adequate rest, drink plenty of fluids, avoid close contact with other persons and avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.

Persons are also encouraged to, as necessary, visit their doctor or health centre, some of which have extended opening hours.

Influenza is a viral infection that spreads easily from person to person, mainly by coughing, sneezing and poor hand hygiene. The influenza viruses circulate worldwide and can affect anybody in any age group; however, children, persons with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, and the elderly are at high-risk for complications from flu.

Dr. Tufton informed that 2019 data from the Ministry show that persons 60 years and older, who are among the high-risk groups, are being severely affected.

In addition, the Minister said between January and June 2019, there were six deaths from the flu (Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic 09.

The Ministry also confirms that two strains of the flu are currently circulating in Jamaica: Influenza A H3N2 and Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic 09.

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