MoH: Flu vaccine will not cause the flu
The Ministry of Health, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are all recommending that members of the public protect themselves against the Flu by taking the New 2019 Flu (Influenza) Vaccine.
According to a statement, the Ministry says it notes the significant response by the public and is working assiduously to restock and re-allocate vaccines to Health Centres as the demand dictates.
The release advises members of the public to be aware of reports circulating on social media that are designed to dissuade persons from taking the flu shot.
“The risk of a severe reaction to the flu vaccine is extremely rare (less than 0.1%). The vaccine used by the Ministry of Health for the current flu season complies with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations and has been formulated to take account of flu viruses circulating in the region. The vaccine is inactivated, which means that it does not contain the live influenza virus and therefore cannot cause the flu.”
Members of the public taking the flu vaccine may experience mild side effects such as flu-like symptoms, soreness and minor swelling around the vaccinated area. These symptoms last no more than 24-48 hours after vaccine administration.
The flu vaccine provides:
- Protection against the flu virus and serious complications like pneumonia
- Reduction in the severity of flu symptoms, if they do occur
- Protection against the flu for pregnant women during and after pregnancy
- Reduction in the risk of flu-like illness in babies after birth, when mothers receive the vaccine during pregnancy
- Reduction in the risk of deaths in children from the flu
- Reduction in absenteeism from work and school