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Increased demand for flu vaccine in Trinidad and Tobago

By Radhica De Silva

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(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Of­fi­cials of the Susamachar Pres­by­ter­ian Church have arranged for flu vac­ci­na­tions to giv­en to their con­gre­ga­tion mem­bers to­day.

Dis­trict Med­ical Of­fi­cer Dr Clement Rago­b­ar con­firmed that vac­ci­na­tions would be done from 4 pm at the church at Carib Street, San Fer­nan­do.

Dr Rago­b­ar said they were hop­ing to do as many as 60 vac­cines. He en­cour­aged oth­er faith-based or­gan­i­sa­tions to fol­low Susamachar’s lead and arrange for their mem­bers to get vac­ci­nat­ed.

More than 75,000 dos­es of the flu vac­ci­na­tion are avail­able free of charge and nurs­ing per­son­nel at health cen­tres are work­ing as­sid­u­ous­ly to get as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble vac­ci­nat­ed.

At the Pleas­antville Health Cen­tre yes­ter­day, 150 peo­ple got the flu shot.

“Peo­ple are con­tin­u­ing to come in droves. We have closed for the day but we will re­sume vac­ci­na­tions from 8.30 am on Tues­day,” a source at the health cen­tre said.

Di­rec­tor of Health Dr Al­bert Per­saud said he was hop­ing all preg­nant women and vul­ner­a­ble cit­i­zens got vac­ci­na­tions be­fore Car­ni­val. With 17 lab­o­ra­to­ry con­firmed cas­es of swine flu record­ed in T&T, he said the Min­istry of Health was urg­ing cit­i­zens to get vac­ci­nat­ed.

Per­saud said he was not wor­ried that more peo­ple could con­tract the virus dur­ing the Car­ni­val sea­son be­cause he was op­ti­mistic that peo­ple would get vac­ci­nat­ed to re­duce the risk.

“I am hap­py that the pub­lic is tak­ing heed. Peo­ple are alert­ed to the fact that the H1N1 virus can no longer be seen as the sim­ple flu,” he said.

Per­saud said the South West Re­gion­al Health Au­thor­i­ty’s (SWRHA) man­ag­er of nurs­ing was en­sur­ing that all their em­ploy­ees get vac­ci­nat­ed.

“Vac­ci­na­tions are go­ing on at all health in­sti­tu­tions and we are keep­ing our fin­gers crossed. We are mak­ing every ef­fort that your risk is very much re­duced so we have vac­ci­na­tions avail­able,” he said.

Health Min­is­ter Ter­rence Deyals­ingh told Par­lia­ment last week that more than 2,000 preg­nant women had al­ready been vac­ci­nat­ed. He said there was an at­tempt at an­te­na­tal clin­ics to en­cour­age preg­nant women to ac­cept the vac­cine since it would not ad­verse­ly af­fect them or their un­born child.

The min­is­ter said three preg­nant women who were not vac­ci­nat­ed al­most died and had to be treat­ed in the In­ten­sive Care Unit.

Deyals­ingh said so far about 17,000 peo­ple had been vac­ci­nat­ed.

In south Trinidad, cas­es of swine flu have been re­port­ed at Lowkie Trace, Pe­nal, as well as Rochard Dou­glas Trace, Bar­rack­pore and in South Oropouche.

Last year, three peo­ple died from swine flu in T&T. Among them was Nicole Seecha­ran, a 47-year-old taxi dri­ver, of Tabaquite. Her rel­a­tives said it was on­ly af­ter she died that they were in­formed that the H1N1 virus was the cause of death.

More in­fo:

• Get vac­ci­nat­ed at your near­est health cen­tre.

• Avoid get­ting close to sick peo­ple, or peo­ple you sus­pect might be sick.

• Avoid touch­ing your eyes, nose and mouth as germs are spread that way.

• Wash your hands of­ten, es­pe­cial­ly be­fore eat­ing, and clean and dis­in­fect sur­faces and ob­jects that may be con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed with germs like the flu.

• If you are sick, stay at home and lim­it your ex­po­sure to oth­er peo­ple to pre­vent spread­ing the flu.

• Cov­er your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.

• Make sure you have an ad­e­quate sup­ply of tis­sues, soap, pa­per tow­els, al­co­hol-based hand rubs, and dis­pos­able wipes.

• If you get sick take an­ti-vi­ral drugs.

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