Flu vaccination for vulnerable groups

It’s that time of the year when flu abounds and to prepare for the onslaught, the City of Cape Town’s health department is expected to take delivery of 14 500 units of Influvac by mid-April to bolster the immunity of vulnerable groups.

In a statement last week, the City said there was not enough of the drug to vaccinate everyone so those most vulnerable to the flu would be prioritised. They include:

* Pregnant women;

* Adults or children with chronic pulmonary disease; cardiovascular disease (except hypertension); renal, hepatic, neurologic, haematologic or metabolic disorders (including diabetes); morbid obesity and immuno-suppression (including HIV);

* Residents of old-age (nursing) homes and other chronic care or rehabilitation facilities;

* Children aged six months to 18 years on long-term aspirin therapy; and

* All persons older than 65.

‘It’s not possible to vaccinate everyone, but if we can immunise part of a community, it minimises the risk of an outbreak and protects those who are not vaccinated,” said JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security and social services.

He urged priority groups to visit their nearest clinic in the coming weeks for the Influvac shot.

“A cold or the flu is a horrible inconvenience for some, but can be life-threatening to others with pre-existing health complications,” he said.