Deyalsingh: Swine flu propaganda, a major problem

Peo­ple spread­ing pro­pa­gan­da that the swine flu vac­cine is un­safe is caus­ing a ma­jor prob­lem, says Health Min­is­ter Ter­rence Deyals­ingh.

"But the vac­cine is safe, avail­able and that's the ac­tion we now have to take," Deyals­ingh said on Tues­day.

He was re­ply­ing to UNC Sen­a­tor Wade Mark's queries in the Sen­ate on Tues­day.

"(Yes­ter­day) I called on the T&T Med­ical As­so­ci­a­tion and Med­ical Board that they should no longer be silent on this is­sue be­cause those spread­ing pro­pa­gan­da are dis­cour­ag­ing peo­ple from get­ting the vac­cine," he said.

Fol­low­ing five con­firmed deaths from swine flu, Mark had asked Deyals­ingh about what steps are be­ing take to in­crease aware­ness on how to avoid con­tract­ing the (H1n1) virus.

Deyals­ingh de­tailed a slew of me­dia and oth­er ad­ver­tis­ing pro­grammes since No­vem­ber which out­lined the ur­gent steps be­ing tak­en to in­crease pub­lic aware­ness on how to avoid get­ting it.

"The ma­jor prob­lem now isn't not get­ting vac­ci­nat­ed or get­ting the vac­cine, it's peo­ple who ought to know bet­ter hav­ing ac­cess to the me­dia, spread­ing ru­mour and pro­pa­gan­da about the safe­ty of the vac­cine and I en­cour­age the pub­lic to ig­nore them as the vac­cines are safe, they're avail­able and that's the ac­tion we now have to take," he said.

On why - de­spite all the steps the au­thor­i­ties have tak­en- there had been five deaths, Deyals­ingh added, "It has to do with the re­luc­tance of the pub­lic to heed all warn­ings to get the vac­cine and get vac­ci­nat­ed; es­pe­cial­ly two main groups, the preg­nant pop­u­la­tion who have an aver­sion to get­ting vac­ci­nat­ed, and health care work­ers."

Reporter: Gail Alexander

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