The San Juan Daily Star
Flu vaccination campaign to kick off next Tuesday
By The Star Staff
In an effort to address the emergency caused by the influenza outbreaks in schools, the departments of Health and Education will begin next Tuesday, Nov. 8 a vaccination campaign that will impact more than 50 schools in the south and west of Puerto Rico.
The first immunization event will be held at Juan Víctor Guzmán School in San Germán starting at 8 a.m.
“We have a reality about the behavior of the virus for this season and we have noticed that it has intensified according to the outbreaks, hospitalizations and infections reported by the Surveillance System of the Bureau of Epidemiology. We are already above the alert threshold level and cases have increased very rapidly, especially in the population of children zero to nine,” Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López said in a written statement. “To address that scenario, we entered into conversations with the Department of Education, as we are concerned about outbreaks in schools, and thus are vaccinating our children and young people to avoid severe illness and complications. Influenza is a preventable disease and vaccination shows us it is the tool to achieve it.”
Vaccinations will be conducted in collaboration with traditional Department of Health providers. The towns that will be impacted in the initial phase are: Añasco, Hormigueros, Lajas, Las Marías, Maricao, Mayagüez, Ponce, San Germán and Sabana Grande.
The Health chief said that according to the most recent report, 3,331 flu cases have been reported, with the Ponce and Mayagûez regions having the highest rates of cases.
That is precisely why the vaccination program has been maintained, Mellado López said, including implementing strategies that make vaccine doses available for peak days, with the expectation of an increase in cases of the virus.