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.
• 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.
- by Radhica De Silva