Over 23,000 flu vaccines available to most vulnerable as flu season approaches

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Over 23,000 flu vaccines available to most vulnerable as flu season approaches

Thursday, October 29, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Director of Family Health Services in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr Melody Ennis, says Jamaica received its flu vaccine shipment last week and they should be available to the public in short order.

She was speaking during the ministry's COVID Conversations digital conference today.

Dr Ennis noted that the flu season begins in November of each year and it extends to March, but said it sometimes can be a little longer, running from October until May.

“People who become infected by the influenza virus may have a difficulty in recognising if they have COVID or they have influenza but as was stated earlier the influenza can be prevented via the vaccine,” Dr Ennis said during the digital conference.

“We, here in Jamaica, received our vaccine shipment just last week so we should have the vaccine in our facilities in short order. We have prioritised the groups of persons who should receive the vaccine; however, we are encouraging all Jamaicans if you can please seek out and do get the influenza vaccine,” she continued.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, later clarified that over 23,000 vials were shipped into the island last week.

Dr Ennis stressed that it is important to receive the vaccine because during this time it will shorten the duration of any flu-like illnesses; the severity will be lessened; and the hospitalisation will be decreased

She said the individuals who will be vaccinated at the ministry's health facilities include pregnant women, healthcare workers, non-health frontline workers, soldiers, police officers, immigration officers, children with chronic illnesses, and the elderly over 65 also with chronic illnesses.

“We can get the flu and COVID together, and even if you get one it does not prevent you from getting the other. Also important for us to recognise is the fact that there is no evidence to date that has suggested that if we get the flu vaccine it will in any way make us more susceptible to getting COVID,” she added.

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