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Flu Vaccine Order on Track

Cayman's first batch of H1N1 vaccine will most likely arrive late December or early in the New Year, following a Ministry of Health agreement with the UK Department of Health.

"My ministry will continue to support the Public Health Department in securing enough H1N1 vaccine for our population. To date, the H1N1 vaccine was not available on the open market and we focused our efforts on working with the UK and PAHO to secure the vaccine" said Minister of Health the Hon. Mark Scotland.

"However, we are also now working with a manufacturer that can supply vaccine directly to us. Even so, because demand is outstripping supply worldwide, here too, supplies will only be available in the New Year," the Minister added.

He thanked local and UK public health officials for tirelessly working towards a delivery date.

The Public Health Department has requested an initial 12,500 H1N1 vaccine doses from the UK to cover most of the high-risk groups, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar said.

Meanwhile, Public Health has also been working closely with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to secure a second source of H1N1 vaccine.

PAHO will be receiving its first supplies - a million doses - in the second week of December. The bulk of its supplies will only arrive between February and April (33 million doses).

"These doses have to be divided amongst all Caribbean and Latin America countries and will be allocated according to population size. Therefore, we cannot be sure how many doses we will receive in each instalment," Dr. Kumar explained.

To date Cayman has registered a total of 109 confirmed H1N1 cases - four of these were confirmed during the past two weeks.

While the public awaits the H1N1 vaccine's arrival, Dr. Kumar continues to urge proactive measures. "Staying home when you are sick, keeping sick children out of school and frequent hand washing remain the best defences," he said.

The Health Services Authority has set-up a dedicated Flu Clinic where people with severe flu symptoms can be treated as a priority and segregated from other patients to prevent the spread.

For further information contact: Cornelia Oliver

Pandemic Vaccine Bid Solicitation
Results of the Revolving Fundís Pandemic Vaccine Bid Solicitation