Seymour urges flu vaccinations

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour has called on the public to get vaccinated against the flu as a means to reduce possible the strain on local medical resources should people fall ill with the flu virus.

Seymour, speaking at Friday’s COVID-19 briefing, said the Public Health department will be announcing its flu vaccine programme next month and he wants everyone to participate.

“Despite the many benefits offered by flu vaccination, not everyone will go get one. However, as we approach the flu season and prepare for flu vaccines to soon arrive to the Cayman Islands, we must be mindful that the flu still causes many illnesses, hospitalisations and, in some cases, can cause death. With a vaccination, we continue to protect our people, the elderly and vulnerable, even from the flu,” he said.

He pointed out that, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this autumn and winter.

“This means getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever,” he said. “While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, there are many important benefits, such as flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalisation, and death. Getting a flu vaccine can also save healthcare resources for the care of patients with other severe illnesses or COVID-19,” he said.

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He added, “This should be coupled with policies that allow unwell employees and students to stay home, whether to work from home or rest. [Vaccination] is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions.”

Flu vaccinations, he said, have been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease, especially among those who had had a cardiac episode in the past year.

“They can also help reduce worsening and hospitalisation for flu-related chronic lung disease, such as in persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. According to the CDC, flu vaccination also has been shown in separate studies to be associated with reduced hospitalisations among people with diabetes and chronic lung disease,” he said.

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