Bermuda Post

Tuesday, Dec 01, 2020

Flu Vaccine for 2020/2021 Season

Flu Vaccine for 2020/2021 Season

The Ministry of Health would like to advise the public that, commencing 14th October, the seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine will be available for priority groups through their doctor or the Flu Express at a cost of $15.00 per shot (for both adults and children). Persons over the age of 65 years will receive the seasonal flu vaccine free-of-charge. 

“Flu Express” Schedule

The Department of Health will be offering influenza vaccination in the community via “Flu Express.”  The “Flu Express” will allow people to drive to a designated site and receive the flu vaccine while waiting in their car,without having to get out.   This will make it easier for some people to access the vaccine, reduce crowds and maintain physical distancing.  

Location

Date

Time

Under the Rubber Tree 

Middle Road, Warwick

 

Wednesday, 14th October 

 

10 am – 2 pm

Hamilton Health Centre

Car Park

67 Victoria Street

Hamilton

 

Saturday, 17th October

  

 

10 am – 2 pm

Pennos Wharf, St George’s

Enter via Tiger Bay Gardens

 

Wednesday, 21st October

 

10 am – 2 pm

Somerset Cricket Club Field, Somerset

Enter via Clyde Best Lane

 

Wednesday, 28th October

 

10 am – 2 pm

Priority persons who should attend the “Flu Express” are: 

  • Healthcare workers, caregivers and essential service workers
  • Persons aged 65 years and older
  • Any person with chronic medical conditions that are at risk of complications from the flu, e.g. diabetics, asthmatics and those with heart disease.  They should inform their doctor when they have been vaccinated.
  • Children  

Flu injections will only be offered at the “Flu Express” on the specified dates, to individuals in good health without active infections.

You will not be given the shot if:

  • You have allergies to eggs, chicken products, or any component of the vaccine 
  • You have had a reaction to the flu shot before
  • You have a fever or are unwell
  • You have had a seizure within the year
  • You currently have COVID-19 or are being quarantined due to COVID-19

Please dress comfortably to allow the nurse easy access to the injection site in the upper arm.  

Please have the correct amount of cash ready during your attendance at the “Flu Express.” (Credit/Debit card facilities will not be available at the “Flu Express” sites).   

During the month of November the flu vaccine will be available at the Hamilton Health Centre in an outdoor setting using a pop up tent:

Health Centre Schedule (November)

Health Centre Location

Date

Time

Hamilton Health Centre (outdoor setting – under the pop up tent)

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

 

2.00 – 4.00 pm

 

 

General Benefits of Flu Vaccination:

  • Decreased chance of contracting influenza 
  • Decreased chance of contracting influenza in pregnancy and increased protection for new born infants 
  • Increased protection against influenza during travel abroad
  • Increased wellness in your steps to maintaining your optimum health
  • Increased quality of life for our community, especially the seniors, infants and children and persons at risk of complications from the flu
  • Decreased absenteeism from work or school due to influenza

In protecting yourself against influenza, you are also protecting your family, your household, your workplace and ultimately your community.  

About Influenza:

Influenza or ‘flu’ is a highly contagious infection caused by the influenza virus. It is generally spread from person-to-person by coughs and sneezes from an infected individual.  Outbreaks of flu are most common in the winter and occur each year, peaking in the months of January & February in the northern hemisphere and in July & August in the southern hemisphere. These annual outbreaks are due to minor changes, (‘viral shifts)’ in the virus, which enable them to evade the immunity that individuals developed following a previous infection or a flu vaccination.  Having an annual flu injection provides a high level of immunity to the anticipated circulating strains of flu virus. Individuals who have had flu before or been immunized previously, may only have partial immunity to this season’s flu. They are vulnerable, but may have less severe symptoms. 

Flu Symptoms

Symptoms of flu develop two to four days after exposure. Typically, persons experience a sudden onset of sore throat, and runny nose with high fever, headache, backache, muscle pains fatigue and general malaise. Although it is unpleasant and debilitating, most people recover after a few days. Extra fluids, bed rest and aspirin or acetaminophen are all that are needed. (Aspirin is not indicated for children with flu-like symptoms because it may cause serious complications e.g. Reyes syndrome). 

In some people, flu infection can be quite serious because it may increase their risk of developing complications, such as pneumonia. The very young (especially infants under 6 months of age), the frail elderly, pregnant women, and people with other medical conditions are those most likely to develop complications. If cough, high fever, or marked sickness persists beyond a few days, especially in these groups, a physician should be consulted. 

The symptoms for flu and COVID-19 are similar.  Preventing flu may reduce hospital admissions and help discern outbreaks of COVID-19.

Flu Prevention

  • The chance of contracting flu and other upper respiratory infections can be reduced by frequent hand-washing, by ‘covering’ coughs and sneezes, disposing of soiled tissues, avoiding crowded places and maintaining physical distancing.  
  • The flu vaccine is a safe and highly effective method of preventing most cases of flu. Side effects are rare and usually mild. 
  • The currently available flu vaccine has been designed to provide protection against the most likely circulating strains of influenza virus for the 2020/21 flu season. This vaccine contains (4) strains. It is an ‘inactivated’ vaccine.  It contains killed viruses and therefore cannot cause flu. It is administered by injection and is safe for persons aged 6 months and older. 

Influenza vaccine is recommended for all persons over the age of 6 months.  Children aged 6 months to 9 years require two shots, given 4 weeks apart, if they are being vaccinated for the first time against influenza.  

Priority groups for influenza vaccine for 2020-21 season include: i) healthcare workers and caregivers, ii) the elderly and persons who live in long term care facilities, iii) persons with chronic medical conditions including diabetes, heart or lung conditions, asthma, sickle cell anaemia and immune system diseases, iv) children 6 months to 18 years, v) pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy. 

Individuals under their physician’s care for chronic medical conditions and children under the age of three years are asked to obtain a prescription for their flu immunization from their private physician.

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