Get your shot! Jamaicans urged to get flu vaccine

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton is again calling on persons to get vaccinated against influenza (flu).

Speaking at a media briefing at the Ministry’s offices in New Kingston on February 5, the Minister said persons should practise good hygiene, including washing hands with soap and water, and covering the mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing to curtail the spread of the viral infection.

“Of note is that these good hygiene practices are also important for the prevention of the spread of the novel coronavirus,” he added.

Dr. Tufton noted that Jamaica is well into the 2019/20 flu season, and that anyone in any age group can be infected.

“However, children, persons with chronic illnesses, pregnant women and the elderly are at high risk for complications from the flu. These include pneumonia and blood infections,” he outlined.

Practising good hygiene is important in preventing the flu. (Photo:

Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie, said the majority of flu cases are “mild”, and in a number of cases, do not last beyond a week.

“However, if you find that you are not getting better and [symptoms like] fever are persisting and you are just generally unwell, you must seek medical attention,” she emphasised.

Dr. Bisasor McKenzie said that in the case of children who are unwell, “the symptoms are usually clear”.

“If they stop playing and stop eating, don’t just think that they want to sleep. If that’s not normal for them, then you must seek medical advice, because that’s the only way we are going to catch it early. When parents say their child ‘does not look good… something is wrong’, then we need to be sensitive to that,” she added.

Dr Bisasor McKenzie pointed out that medical attention sought “doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to go to the hospital… you can visit your primary care provider.”