Flu vaccine rush continues

Even as members of the public continue to complain about vaccination shortages, chief executive officer of the South West Regional Health Authority Keith Mc Donald assured that additional supplies of vaccines are being sent to health centres on a daily basis.

Nurses at various health centres said normally 20 vaccines are given but since last week they have gone up to administering over 150 vaccinations on a daily basis.

Denying that vaccines had run out, Mc Donald said because of the sudden public demand for seasonal influenza vaccines, supplies were finishing earlier. 

He said, "We always had vaccines. When we started to advertise, people started rushing to get vaccinated. We have sent 200 vaccines in each health centre and we are now putting more efforts to ensure that none of the health centres run short," Mc Donald said. He noted that vaccines were sent to Tabaquite and 200 were sent to the Pleasantville Centre.

"All health centres are supposed to be giving vaccines on a daily basis," Mc Donald said. 

However, at the Fyzabad Health Centre yesterday, there were no vaccines available.

Shaheeda Singh who went to get vaccines for herself and her son said the nurses were expecting vaccines yesterday but did not get any.

"We were advised to come back on Tuesdays, Wednesday or Fridays between 8 am to 4 pm. The nurse suggested that we call before we come in because they do not always have the vaccines," Singh said.

Another woman who called the Guardian said she waited for over four hours at the Pleasantville Health Centre yesterday only to be told there were no vaccinations available. She then went to the La Romaine Centre only to be told that the next set of vaccinations will be given in the first week of February.

At the Freeport Health Centre nurses advised that children will not be given any vaccines until their given clinic day. 

"It is ridiculous because my nephews' clinic dates are in April and May. What happens in the meantime. They are the most vulnerable to contract swine flu. What if they get swine flu before their clinic dates," she added.

Health Minister Terence Deyalsingh last week advised all citizens to get vaccinated, saying there were 75,000 vaccines available. Seven people are currently being treated for the H1N1 virus in the San Fernando General Hospital where three people have died over the past few months. Deyalsingh said last week there was 17 laboratory confirmed cases of swine flu in T&T.

- by Radhica De Silva. Photo by Kristian De Silva.

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