The Ministry of Health in Trinidad & Tobago says a program is now in place to vaccinate all front line staff, including doctors and nurses who have been in contact with patients who have contracted Swine Flu. Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh announced that as of December 15, 29 cases of the H1N1 influenza virus, more commonly known as Swine Flu have been confirmed and there have been three deaths.The Ministry says an adequate stock of the H1N1 vaccine is in place and it is being administered to members of staff.
At the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, up to 600 members of staff in the intensive care unit, the high dependency unit and the Accident and Emergency department had already received their vaccines. Concerning reports that workers at some health facilities were not willing to be vaccinated, Deyalsingh acknowledged the problem – noting that some workers on the frontline were not taking the issue seriously.
“We can urge. We can advise. We can educate as much as we want but we cannot compel them [health workers]. At the end of the day it is a personal decision by health care workers to be vaccinated,” he said.
The Ministry of Health has procured 20,000 doses of vaccines, and has placed an order with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) for a supply for 20,000 more.