Get flu jab – health authority

Published Apr 29, 2024


As flu season approaches, the Department of Health is urging the public to get the flu vaccine to protect themselves and others from the potentially severe effects of the virus.

Vaccination early on is advised to build sufficient immunity before the flu season peaks.

The department is issuing a crucial advisory, urging the public to take extra precautions to safeguard themselves and their families from the anticipated surge in respiratory infections during this winter season.

Department of Health spokesperson, Foster Mohale, said the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is currently at its peak circulation in the country, while cases of influenza are beginning to rise although Covid-19 remains at low levels of circulation.

“Influenza remains a significant concern, especially for vulnerable people. We urge individuals at high risk of severe influenza to prioritise vaccination. This includes adults aged 65 and older, individuals with underlying health conditions like heart and lung disease, those living with HIV or tuberculosis, and pregnant women.

“The influenza vaccine, the primary defence against the flu, is readily available. Public clinics are offering the vaccine free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis for those falling into high-risk categories.

“For others seeking protection or belonging to high-risk groups not covered by the free clinics, the vaccine is available for purchase at various pharmacies in the private sector,” Mohale said.

He highlighted the importance of preventive measures in curbing the spread of influenza.

“The influenza virus spreads through respiratory droplets. It’s crucial to practice good respiratory hygiene, including covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, staying home when sick, and avoiding close contact with others,” he said.

Recognising the symptoms of influenza, such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea is essential. Parents and caregivers are advised to monitor children closely and seek medical attention promptly if symptoms worsen.

Additionally, individuals with the flu can spread the virus for a period of three to eight days. To reduce the risk of spreading it further, wear masks and maintain social distances, particularly for those who are sick.

In the ongoing battle against the flu, early vaccination and preventive measures are crucial.

The Star

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