Vulnerable groups urged to get flu vaccine
The Ministry of Health is encouraging persons in vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, children, and pregnant women, to get the influenza vaccine.
Principal medical officer and national epidemiologist in the ministry, Dr Karen Webster-Kerr, said that over 20,000 doses of the vaccine were purchased in adult and paediatric formulations in preparation for the flu season and, so far, 15,000 have been distributed.
Director of the health promotion and protection branch in the ministry, Dr Beverley Wright, noted that take-up of the vaccine has been good, so far.
However, she stressed the need for persons with chronic illnesses, the elderly, pregnant women, and healthcare workers to get vaccinated.
She noted that while the vaccine may not prevent persons from contracting the influenza virus, it will protect them against more aggressive strains.
Wright is encouraging persons to practise proper hygiene to prevent themselves and others from getting the flu.
This include washing hands regularly and keeping hands away from the eyes, nose, and mouth.
For those already with the flu, she advises them to cover their mouths and noses with tissue when coughing or sneezing and to properly discard the used tissue. Also, shared items and surfaces should be disinfected regularly to minimise the likelihood of spreading the virus.
Dr Wright said that infected persons should stay home while they recover. "Do not take the virus into the office or classroom and put your colleagues at risk if you can avoid doing so," she said.
The Ministry of Health last year introduced the 'No Germs Round Here' campaign, which addresses the prevention of a number of infections, including influenza and conjunctivitis (pink eye).