Flu vaccines still up for grabs

With flu season well under way, nearly half of Cayman’s 3,000 free doses of influenza 
vaccination are still available.

Head of the Public Health Department, Dr. Kiran Kumar said there are still 1,300 doses at various facilities throughout the Cayman Islands.

The free vaccines have been available at public health clinics and hospitals since early October. “We have also been offering to any business place on the work site if they have more than 20 persons to take the vaccine,” Dr. Kumar said.

Companies interested in the workplace vaccination programme can contact the Public Health Department at 244-2648 to register.

Dr. Kumar added that the public health staff would continue to offer the vaccinations until supplies last, although the sooner a person is vaccinated the better.

He advised anyone thinking about getting a vaccination to have it done by mid-December at the latest for the vaccine to have any advantage. The traditional peak of the flu 
season is December and January.

This year’s flu vaccine also protects against the 2009 H1N1 pandemic flu.

It is only effective for one season and it is advised that everyone 6 months and older, especially those at high risk for complications from influenza and those who live with or 
care for them, be vaccinated.

High-risk people include children 6 months to 4 years, but especially those under 2. Also included in the high-risk group are pregnant women, those 50 and older, anyone with weakened immune systems and those with chronic medical conditions – such as heart, kidney and lung diseases and diabetes – and people living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. It takes up to two weeks for the protection to develop after the shot and protection lasts 
about a year.

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