C’bbean Getting Vaccine Before Second Wave Swine Flu

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries can expect the first shipment of the HINI vaccine to arrive in the region in late November, as they prepare for further attacks from the virus known as swine flu.

The vaccine will provide immunisation for CARCIOM’s most vulnerable groups – children, pregnant mothers, persons suffering from Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases and young people – against an anticipated second attack of the virus later this year.
“The bad news is this virus is expected to intensify its attack during the colder months of December to January; the good news is that the Caribbean is more prepared to deal this virus the second time around as most member states are seeking to acquire the vaccine,” said Dr Rudolph Cummings, CARICOM Secretariat’s Programme Manager, Health Sector Development.
“We have passed the panic stage and for the majority who will be affected, the virus will just pass like the common flu.”
The United States contributed significantly to a Global Fund which was used to develop the vaccine that could be delivered at no cost to some Member States. 
However, Dr Cummings pointed out that this was not enough and some countries that did not benefit from the Global Fund would have to buy additional doses.

The cost, he said, would be kept to approximately US$7 per vaccine.  Dr Cummings pointed out that the approach to testing and treating the virus has changed since its first appearance in late May. 

He said that initially, tests were done for all flu like symptoms; but now it will be done in the public sector for severe acute respiratory infections.



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