Last of flu shots up for grabs

The last 200 free flu jabs are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the hospitals and public health clinics. 

Director of Primary Health Care Dr. Kiran Kumar advised the public this week that only 200 doses of flu shots are available to the public and no more will be procured this season.  

Dr. Kumar also reminded the public that people should get vaccinated before the peak of the flu season – December and January.  

The flu vaccine is offered free of cost to all residents and no appointments are necessary. 

To get a flu shot, visit the General Practice Clinic at the Cayman Islands Hospital, Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac or any of the district health centres, from 2pm to 4pm Monday through Friday. Residents of Little Cayman should contact the Little Cayman clinic on 948-0114 to arrange to get a shot. 

An annual flu vaccine reduces the chances of getting flu and lessens the chances of transmitting it to others. 

The 2011-2012 flu vaccine includes protection against 2009 H1N1 flu virus, Influenza A (H3N2) and Influenza B.  

Medical experts recommend everyone ages 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine, but especially those people at high risk of serious flu-related complications or people who live with or care for them.  

High-risk people include: children ages 6 months to 4 years, but especially those under 2; pregnant women; those ages 50 and older; a persons of any age older than 6 months with weakened immune systems and those with chronic medical conditions such as heart, kidney and lung diseases and diabetes; people living in nursing homes and other long term care facilities. 

Those who should not be vaccinated or who should consult a physician before getting a flu shot include: children younger than 6 months; people with severe allergies to chicken or chicken eggs as the flu vaccine virus is grown on hens’ eggs; people with known allergy to systemic Neomycin; 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; and people who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever. 

Nursing mothers should inform their doctor or nurse they are breastfeeding before taking the flu shot. 

The flu shot is administered by injection, usually in the arm.  

The vaccine takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection. Children ages 6 months to 8 years, who are being vaccinated for the first time, need a second dose four weeks after the first in order to be protected. In the meantime, individuals are still at risk for getting the flu. 

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