Western Cape Government Health Introduces Influenza Campaign
Western Cape Government Health is embarking on an influenza vaccination campaign, which is taking place from 2 April to 30 June 2012. A total of 100 000 vaccine doses will be available for this campaign and have been allocated to all districts.
Western Cape Government Health is providing the flu vaccine free of charge. People who are part of the priority groups are encouraged to go to their nearest health facility to request the vaccination. Through receiving the vaccine, people living in the Western Cape can build stronger immune systems and protect themselves against flu during this winter.
Priority groups include:
- Adults or children at high risk for influenza-related complications because of underlying medical conditions including: chronic pulmonary disease (including asthma), cardiovascular disease (except hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurologic, haematologic or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus), morbid obesity (BMI 40) and immunosuppression (including HIV-infected persons).
- Pregnant women - irrespective of stage of pregnancy.
- Children aged six months to four years (59 months).
- 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.
- All persons aged 65 years and older.
Western Cape Health Minister, Theuns Botha, says, "The vaccination campaign forms part of our strategy to boost people's immune systems so that their bodies are less vulnerable to disease. Our long-term aim is to increase wellness - that is a society where people are healthy and strong and able to go to work every day and live the life they value. Flu vaccinations are only steps on that road, but building blocks towards a healthier society. So make use of this opportunity that our health services offer so that we can be better together."
The aim of the flu campaign is to highlight the need for vaccination before and during the flu season and to ensure that available vaccines are utilised.
The outcome of the campaign is to reduce influenza-related morbidity and mortality and to reduce the transmission of the influenza virus within communities. Not everyone is at risk of severe disease; therefore, not everyone needs to be vaccinated against the current strain of influenza.
Other preventative measures include:
- Avoiding close contact: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Staying home when you are sick: If possible, stay home from work, school or errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
- Covering your mouth and nose: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Cleaning your hands: Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth: Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Practising other good health habits: Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
The vaccination will be available, free of charge, at community health centres and clinics. The department plans to use all avenues and channels in communities, which may include door-to-door campaigns, vaccination at pension pay points, old age homes and schools in order to reach targeted groups.
Please make contact with your nearest health facility for more information.