The Health Ministry is giving the assurance that arrangements are being been made to deal with the increase in public demand for the flu vaccine.

The Ministry said that there are sufficient quantities of the flu vaccine locally amid reports of shortages in health centres in some areas.

The Ministry on Wednesday acknowledged that there was a need for immediate intervention in specific health centres and interim arrangements are being put in place to respond to this increased demand in key areas.

Doses of the flu vaccine have already been redistributed from areas of low demand to areas of high demand.

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

To date, approximately one-third of the vaccines acquired have been administered (24,000 administered out of 75,000 vaccines).

The Ministry said there is a sufficient quantity of the flu vaccines and 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.

While the usual average of vaccines administered weekly is around 1,500, in the last week (7-11 January 2019), approximately 5,000 doses were administered and an even higher uptake is expected for this week ending January 18.

But, in response to the positive uptake by the public, the Ministry has already gone ahead to procure additional doses of the flu vaccine through the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

And, if required, the Ministry will continue to acquire additional doses of the flu vaccine through PAHO.

Persons who fall into key at-risk groups are urged to get vaccinated.

Persons in the at-risk-groups 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)