Flu shots are now available though this first supply is limited. Priority will be given those at highest risk for flu complications, such as, the elderly and those of any age with chronic illnesses, according to the Public Health Department.
More vaccine is expected in late November and will be made widely available the Department confirmed.
The shots are available at the Cayman Islands Hospital, all District Health Centres (2-4pm Monday through Friday), Faith Hospital and Little Cayman Clinic.
The release adds October or November are the best times to get vaccinated, but getting vaccinated in December is also beneficial since most influenza activity occurs in January or later in most years.
Flu season can last as late as May. Dr. Kumar notes that ‘the vaccine is effective for one season only; therefore, persons at high risk should be vaccinated every year.’
Persons who should get vaccinated each year are those at high risk for complications from the flu including:
• Children aged six to 59 months,
• Pregnant women on medication, the over fifties,
• Those with some chronic health conditions,
• Residents of care facilities and persons who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu.
Others who should get the flu vaccine are health workers and household contacts of persons at high risk for complications/ and household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age.
Those who consult their physician before being vaccinated include:
• People who have severe allergy to chicken or chicken eggs,
• People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past,
• People who developed Guillian-Barre’ syndrome within six weeks of getting a vaccine previously,
• Children less than six months of age,
• People who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever should wait to get vaccinated.
Some people may experience side effects. Common reactions to the vaccine are soreness and redness at the site of the injection, fever, fatigue, painful joints and headache. Panadol or similar medications will reliever the symptoms. Before being vaccinated, it is recommended that persons become familiar with information about the vaccine.
Information and handouts about the flu vaccine are available locations where vaccinations are being administered.
No appointments are necessary to receive the vaccine. The cost of the flu shot is $15 per person. Persons should bring their insurance information for billing purposes.
Dr. Kumar says that anyone who is covered by CINICO, children and persons older than 60 years of age who do not have insurance will receive their shots at no cost to the individual.
For more information contact: Public Health Department at 244-2648, the General Practice Unit at 244-2800, Faith Hospital at 948-2243, Little Cayman Clinic at 948-0114 and the District Health Centres: East End 947-7440, North Side 947-9525, West Bay 949-3439 and Bodden Town 947-2299.
The vaccine is recommended for:
•Anyone six months or older with certain chronic conditions such as heart or lung disease, diabetes, renal problems, blood disorders and immune system problems that are susceptible to complications of influenza infection.
• Lung conditions such as bronchitis, asthma and emphysema