Some 1,400 people have received a free flu vaccination from the Health Services Authority and the shots are still available while supplies last.
Members of the public can get the flu vaccine between 2pm and 4pm weekdays at any District Health Centre or the General Practice Clinic at the Cayman Islands Hospital, Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac or the Little Cayman Clinic.
“An annual flu vaccine is the first and most important step for protection against flu viruses,” said Dr Kiran Kumar, the HSA’s medical officer of health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu activity remains slightly increased in the United States, although worldwide, the flu activity remains low. However, in the Caribbean and Central American region, influenza activity was high with reports of A (H1N1) and A (H3N2) detections.
“Usually we average about 85 to 90 cases flu-like illness (acute respiratory infections) per week,” said Dr. Kumar. “During the month of September 2013, we averaged 141 cases of acute respiratory infections per week. This is well above the weekly average and indicates the start of the 2013/14 influenza season along with the opening of the schools.” He added, “The number of cases has declined to an average of 132 per week during the month of October and to 127 per week in November. As of November 16, 2013 the total number of cases reported is 5,290 compared to 4,161 for the corresponding period last year. We continue to monitor the situation.” December and January are peak periods for flu activity, Dr Kumar noted. “Hence it is essential to get the vaccine now,” he said.
The Public Health Department offers on-site workplace vaccinations for companies of 20 or more employees.
The vaccination is recommended for anyone aged six months and older.
In addition to the vaccination, personal hygiene measures of covering your cough, sanitary disposal of used tissues and hand washing also play a major role in the prevention and control of flu.