PHD appeals to risk groups to get pandemic influenza A (H1N1) vaccine before second wave comes

Island confirms 31 H1N1 cases to date

The Preventive Health Department (PHD) is appealing to risk groups to get their pandemic influenza A (H1N1) vaccine before the second wave of the flu virus arrives. PHD also confirms 31 confirmed cases cumulative with the last five new cases coming in within the period of November 4 and December 11. 

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The five cases are local and were in the age range of seven to 40.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is advising countries in the northern hemisphere to prepare for a second wave of pandemic spread. Countries with tropical climates where the pandemic virus arrived later than elsewhere, also need to prepare for an increasing number of cases.

Nine family physician medical clinics are currently dispensing the pandemic influenza A (H1N1) vaccine to risk groups.

Persons who fall under the identified risk groups are asked to visit their family physicians at the following clinics as of the specified days and times:

– Dr. Mercuur Clinic (Monday to Friday, 12.00pm to 1.00pm);

– Bush Road Clinic (Monday to Friday, 12.00pm to 2.00pm);

– Dr. Deketh Clinic (Monday to Friday, 2.00pm to 3.00pm)

– Dr. Ruth Douglas (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 7.30am to 9.30am)

– Union Road Clinic of Dr. Van Osch (Wednesday, Thursday 2.00pm to 5.00pm)

– Simpson Bay Medical Clinic of Dr. Tjaden and Dr. Datema (Wednesday and Thursday, 2.00pm to 5.00pm)

– Dr. Spencer Clinic (Wednesday, 2.00pm to 4.00pm)

– Great Bay Clinic of Dr. Bus/Dr. Knol (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 2.00pm to 3.00pm; call 542-6542 for an appointment, only 20 persons per day)

– Zamora Perez Medical Clinic (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 2.30pm to 4.00pm).

According to guidelines from the Netherlands Antilles Influenza A (H1N1) Protocol, all pregnant women who are in the last six months of pregnancy or second trimester – from their fourth month onwards – will be vaccinated.

Other persons who form part of the risk group that should get vaccinated are:

· Persons with chronic conditions e.g. with pulmonary disease; with cardiac disease; with diabetes mellitus, even if not on medication; with chronic kidney disease/failure; after a recent bone marrow transplant; with HIV-infection.

· Persons with a diminished resistance to infections: livercirrosis, (functional) asplenia, auto-immune illnesses, chemotherapy, immunosuppressive medication;

· 60 years and older.

Health care workers who may be in contact with patients pertaining to the medical risk groups mentioned above (personnel in nursing homes, senior citizen home, hospital, outpatient clinics and general practitioner/specialist practices) should also get vaccinated.

Home care givers of people with a very high risk for severe illness and mortality due to pandemic influenza A (H1N1) should also be vaccinated.

For persons who do not fall within the identified risk groups, you are advised to continue with implementing preventive measures (maintain high standards of hygiene), staying healthy and keeping a safe distance from persons with a flu-like illness.

Persons who have flu-like symptoms should call their family physician immediately.

The process of administering the pandemic influenza A (H1N1) vaccine started November 23 for high risk groups.