New batch of H1N1 vaccines to be available to the public soon


THE new batch of H1N1 vaccines to replace the 100,000 doses that were deemed unfit for use should be soon available to the public.
“The H1N1 vaccines will be available around the country though our health centre and hospitals by Friday afternoon,” Health Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy said.

Dr. Ramsammy, in a prior statement to the media, explained that the temperature of the vaccine package was inconsistent with the recommended temperature on arrival and once the vaccines arrived at the Kingston bond they were placed immediately in the freezer.
“This is not recommended. While neither of these conditions means that the vaccines are spoilt, both could reduce the potency of the vaccines,” he said.
To this end a request was made to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the replacement to be made.
“The Ministry of Health has always ensured that the highest quality of vaccines is used in our immunisation programme,” he said.
Additionally, he observed that although the number of H1N1 cases around the world has fallen there is still a prevalence of cases in many countries.
The H1N1 virus spreads like the seasonal flu and persons are encouraged to adhere to health advisories. Among these are:
* Covering the nose and mouth with tissue when coughing or sneezing and throwing it into the trash.
* Washing hands often, with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing;
* Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth as germs are easily spread that way;
* Trying to avoid close contact with sick people; and
* Staying at home if sick for seven days after symptoms of the illness surface or until you have been symptoms-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer, to keep you from infecting others and spreading the virus further.
Apart from the H1N1 vaccines, other mechanisms in place to address the H1N1 situation in Guyana include the acquisition of new equipment for testing for H1N1, costing some $8M.
This is installed at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL) and routine testing have commenced.