Ministry of Health Weekly Flu Update – January 20th, 2020

Port-of-Spain, January 20th, 2020: The Ministry of Health is currently engaged in a robust, nation-wide Influenza Vaccination Drive for the 2020 Flu Season (October 2019 to May 2020). This campaign has been implemented to protect the population against the Influenza (Flu) Virus.

The Ministry reports the following, as of Friday, 17th January 2020:

-       The cumulative number of vaccines administered to the public for this flu season -  67,867;

-        The number of suspected influenza cases for the 2020 calendar year (as of Friday, 17th January 2020) 29 cases;

(NB the number of suspected influenza cases for the 2019 calendar year was 3,755)

-       The number of confirmed influenza deaths for the current flu season – 39.

The Influenza virus is serious and is generally more severe than the common cold. The flu vaccine is available, at no cost, at all health centres. Persons in the following groups are particularly vulnerable to the virus and are urged to get the flu vaccine:

  • Children aged 6 months to 5 years;
  • Pregnant women;
  • Adults over 65;
  • People with chronic medical conditions (such as Diabetes Mellitus);
  • People with chronic respiratory illnesses (such as Asthma).

Persons in the health care workforce and essential services are also encouraged to get the flu vaccine.

Members of the public are advised to contact their nearest health centre to confirm the dates and times that vaccines are distributed.

Additionally, everyone should take the following necessary personal health precautions to protect themselves and their families from the Influenza virus and other diseases:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub;
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way;
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs;
  • Where possible, avoid close contact with sick people;
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them;
  • Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. After using a tissue, throw it in the bin and wash hands thoroughly.


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