Healthcare workers urged to get vaccinated
Frontline health workers are being encouraged to get vaccinated to protect themselves against the Influenza A (H1N1) virus.
The call comes from Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton who has assured that Jamaica has an adequate supply of the vaccine, which is being further shored up.
Tufton says two thousand doses have been brought in from Trinidad and Tobago and Belize.
He says another 3,000 doses are expected on the island this week.
The Health Minister says with the additional stock there will be enough doses of the vaccination for healthcare staff who are particularly at risk.
While noting that getting vaccinated is voluntary, Tufton implored healthcare staff to exercise precaution by taking the medication, and pledged the Ministry’s assistance in acquiring it.
That the vaccine can be accessed from public healthcare facilities and is also available to the general public via private entities which sell and administer the medicine.
The cost ranges from $1,200 and $1,500 per dose.
Tufton says if healthcare workers are still unsure about the vaccination they may contact the Health Ministry.
Meanwhile, Tufton is encouraging persons experiencing flu-like symptoms, and suspect it may be H1N1, to first get assessed by a physician, whether privately or at a primary public health facilities such as clinics, before going to a hospital.
It is being recommended that persons who are at a higher risk of complications from the virus, such as those with chronic illnesses like hypertension and diabetes; asthmatics; as well as pregnant women, should seek medical treatment once they begin to experience flu-like symptoms.
Symptoms of the H1N1 virus are similar to seasonal influenza and may include sneezing, coughing, runny and stuffy nose, fatigue and headache.
To date, 46 cases of the H1N1 virus have been detected in Jamaica.
This is up from an average of 30 cases, since over 170 cases were recorded in 2009.
Tufton noted that because of this above average detection for the current flu season, preparations have been made to address this increase in cases.