Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh got his Influenza vaccine today and is urging members of the public to follow suit, as Trinidad and Tobago braces for the 2020-21 flu season.
The Ministry of Health tallied 41 fatalities in the last flu season and, with the Covid-19 pandemic already testing the capabilities of its parallel health care system, the government is anxious to avoid another crisis.
“We really need the population to take the flu shot,” said Deyalsingh. “If too many persons need hospital care because of the flu, this can overwhelm the health system and the health care workers who are already dealing with Covid-19. [And] while there is no vaccine for Covid-19, there is one for the flu.”
The flu vaccine is free and available at all health centres. The persons considered to be in high-risk groups include:
- Children aged 6 months to 5 years;
- Adults 60 years of age and over;
- Pregnant women;
- Persons suffering from non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease;
- Persons with compromised immune systems, such as persons with Lupus, and cancer patients;
- Persons with chronic respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
- Members of the National Security Forces and Customs and Immigration Division; and
- Healthcare workers.
As far as the Ministry of Health’s effort to combat the novel coronavirus goes, the country continues to make slow progress. Today, there were 39 additional positives with no deaths, which brought the twin island republic to 1,865 active cases.
Trinidad and Tobago has had 4,570 infections from 28,507 unique patient tests with 76 deaths since the onset of the pandemic.
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 1 October)
- 1,522 cases in 18 days with 23 deaths.
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.