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Trinidad run low on swine flu vaccine

By Radhica Sookraj

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District Medical Officer Dr Clement Ragobar prepares a flu vaccine at the Susamachar Presbyterian Church.

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — In­fluen­za vac­ci­na­tions have run low in some health cen­tres as pub­lic de­mand grows with the threat of the dead­ly H1N1 virus.

At the Pleas­antville Health Cen­tre, scores of peo­ple were turned away as sup­plies ran low. On­ly 162 peo­ple re­ceived vac­ci­na­tions at the Pe­nal Health Cen­tre while vac­ci­na­tions at Mara­bel­la and Roy Joseph in San Fer­nan­do al­so ran out.

At the Susamachar Pres­by­ter­ian Church, hun­dreds more came to get vac­ci­nat­ed. Dis­trict Med­ical Of­fi­cer Dr Clement Rago­b­ar said on­ly 50 vac­ci­na­tions were avail­able at the church but he said he planned to re­quest more vac­ci­na­tions next week. Rago­b­ar said many peo­ple in the church were el­der­ly and could not go to the health cen­tre to have the vac­ci­na­tions done.

“We are ad­vis­ing peo­ple to go to their dis­trict health cen­tres and get vac­ci­nat­ed,” Rago­b­ar said.

Rev Kendrick Sook­nar­ine said many peo­ple were con­cerned about the spread of swine flu es­pe­cial­ly as Car­ni­val was draw­ing clos­er.

Sev­er­al peo­ple who were in­ter­viewed said they were un­able to get vac­ci­na­tions at the pub­lic health cen­tres. One woman said she was turned away from the Pleas­atville, Roy Joseph, Mara­bel­la and La Ro­maine health cen­tres when he sought vac­ci­na­tion yes­ter­day.

“The nurs­es at Pleas­antville said vac­ci­na­tions ran out and they will not get any­more un­til Feb­ru­ary. The Min­istry is telling us to go and get vac­ci­nat­ed but all day to­day I have been dri­ving around to get vac­ci­nat­ed and I am still wait­ing,” the woman said.

Ci­ta Has­sanali al­so said she went to the Pleas­antville and Mara­bel­la health cen­tres and was told that there were no more vac­ci­na­tions avail­able.

How­ev­er, Med­ical Di­rec­tor Dr Al­bert Per­saud said while stocks were run­ning low at some health cen­tres, the Min­istry had suf­fi­cient vac­cines.

“Be­cause of the de­mand we were run­ning low and in some health cen­tres we con­tact­ed the Min­istry and we were told that they were go­ing to send vac­cines in the next two days,” Per­saud said. He said he had no in­for­ma­tion that vac­cines will be avail­able un­til Feb­ru­ary.

Mean­while, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of the South­west Re­gion­al Health Au­thor­i­ty Kei­th Mc Don­ald said San Fer­nan­do Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal does not have the equip­ment or ca­pac­i­ty to test swine flu. He not­ed that it usu­al­ly takes about a week be­fore re­sults are made avail­able by the Caribbean Pub­lic Health Agency (CARPHA).

“There are lots of swabs that have to be test­ed and with the num­ber of re­quests for test­ing be­ing made we usu­al­ly get the re­sults in a week.”

Mc Don­ald said there were no new cas­es of H1N1 at the hos­pi­tal. Cur­rent­ly, there are sev­en peo­ple be­ing treat­ed for swine flu but they are not con­firmed cas­es, Mc Don­ald added. He not­ed that three peo­ple have al­ready died from swine flu over the past few weeks.

Health Min­is­ter Ter­rence Deyals­ingh said there were over 75,000 vac­ci­na­tions avail­able.

This article was posted in its entirety as received by This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of, its sponsors or advertisers.

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