Home / Wellness / Health / MoH urges public to get Influenza vaccine, T&T suffered 41 deaths in last flu season

MoH urges public to get Influenza vaccine, T&T suffered 41 deaths in last flu season

The Ministry of Health is urging citizens to be vaccinated for the Influenza virus, as the country braces for the flu season which runs from October to March.

Trinidad and Tobago suffered 41 deaths in the last spell of the virus, with most attributed to H1N1. And, since the symptoms are almost identical to Covid-19, the public was urged to take all possible precaution at this morning’s virtual press conference—including being swabbed.

Photo: The flu season is coming…
(Courtesy Science News)

Persons who were vaccinated in the last flu season still require ‘revaccination’, since there is an ‘upgraded vaccine’ to match the current season. 

“It takes time to build immunity, so it is important to get your vaccination early in the flu season,” said Dr Adesh Sirjusingh, who is director of Women’s Health at the Ministry of Health.

There were no Influenza-related fatalities among pregnant patients last year, while no expectant mothers have passed away due to Covid-19 in 2020 either. Dr Sirjusingh said there is no evidence to suggest that pregnant women are more at risk of succumbing to either virus, however he urged them not to take anything for granted.

This morning, the Ministry of Health announced the country’s 75th death since the onset of the novel coronavirus, who was described as ‘an elderly female with co-morbidities’. There have been 53 deaths this month so far.

At present, there are 1,882 active cases of Covid-19 in the twin island republic with 110 hospitalised patients, 11 in step-down facilities and over 1,700 persons in ‘home isolation’.

Photo: The novel coronavirus.

From the patients within the formal parallel healthcare system, there are six in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Couva Hospital and another four in ICU at the Arima Hospital while there five at the High Dependency Unit (HDU) in Couva.

The updated information reveals that Couva’s ICU has two more patients than it did yesterday.

There were 54 new positives today, which took Trinidad and Tobago’s tally to 4,517 cases from 27,914 unique patient tests since the start of the pandemic.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is targeting an infection rate of 20 per day or lower, so as to be allowed to enter a Caricom ‘travel bubble’—in which persons residing in the respective member nations can visit each other without need for Covid-19 tests or a quarantine period.

Barbados, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and St Vincent and the Grenadines are members of the bubble at present, although Rowley hopes to get Trinidad and Tobago onboard by 11 October.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
(Copyright Office of the Parliament 2020)

Trinidad and Tobago vs Covid-19 (in numbers)

Local infections in first wave (27 March to 26 April)

  • 50 cases in 31 days with 8 deaths.

Local infections in second wave (20 July to 17 August)

  • 436 cases in 29 days with 4 deaths.

Local infections since gov’t roll-backs (18 August to 13 September)

  • 2,350 cases in 26 days with 41 deaths.

Local infections since renewal of roll-backs (14 September to 30 September)

  • 1,469 cases in 17 days with 22 deaths.
Photo: A motorist wears his mask.
(via JK Law Offices)

The Ministry of Health reminds members of the public to adhere to the ‘new normal’ and:

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when you go out in public;
  • Keep your distance from others (six feet);
  • Stay home if you are ill;
  • Clean then sanitise surfaces, such as tabletops, door knobs and cell phones;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitiser;
  • Cough into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow;
  • Avoid touching your face.

Persons are urged to call Covid-19 hotline numbers: 877-WELL, 87-SWRHA or 877-3742 (Trinidad) and 800-HEAL (Tobago) if they feel unwell; or they can report a possible breach of Covid-19 regulations by calling 555, or sending messages—inclusive of photographs and videos—to the Police App or via Whats App to 482-GARY.

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  1. To me the numbers associated with the various roll-back periods suggest that these have not been as successful as the authorities would like (the average for these two periods have been fluctuating at just below 100 new cases per day with the 2nd period being marginally more successful in reducing the number of new cases. Bringing the infection rate down to 20 or below will take some doing especially in the wake of the debate over whether the regulation covers private property etc and the fallout which the ministry of Health and its experts may not be aware of at this time. Getting to be part of that travel bubble is important more so now with CAL feeling the pain of the extended border closure.