Health Ministry: There are sufficient flu vaccines

The Ministry of Health is seeking to give the assurance that it is closely monitoring the supply and distribution of influenza vaccines to meet the increased demand at the nation’s public health institutions.

The ministry says that to date, approximately one-third of the vaccines acquired have been administered (24,000 administered out of 75,000 vaccines).

"While the Ministry is encouraged by the significant public response to the flu vaccination drive, we remind members of the public there is a sufficient quantity of the flu vaccines," the statement said.

It said that based on the national flu vaccine uptake patterns for the last two flu seasons, 75,000 doses of the vaccine were procured for this flu season.

The statement added: "In response to the positive uptake by the public, the Ministry has already taken the proactive step to procure additional doses of the flu vaccine through the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). If required, the Ministry will continue to use this pathway to acquire additional doses of the flu vaccine for distribution."

It said that persons who fall into key at-risk groups are urged to get vaccinated.

The ministry said that persons in the at-riskgroups are:

• Children aged 6 months to 5 years

• Pregnant women

• Adults over 65

• Persons with chronic medical conditions (such as Diabetes Mellitus)

• Persons with chronic respiratory illnesses (such as Asthma)

The ministry says that the surge in the public demand for the vaccine created the need for immediate intervention in specific health centres.

It added that interim arrangements are being put in place to respond to this increased demand in key areas.

The Health Ministry says that flu vaccine doses have already been redistributed from areas of low demand to areas of high demand.

"Usually, approximately 1,500 vaccines are administered weekly. Last week (7-11 January 2019), approximately 5,000 doses were administered and an even higher uptake is expected for this week ending 18th January 2019," the statement said. 

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