Ministry of Health
Belmopan - 14 January, 2009
As part of Belize’s Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan, the Ministry of Health has procured Seasonal Influenza Vaccine for at-risk groups and is available at Public Health Clinics and Health Centers throughout Belize.
At-risk groups includes Infants 6 – 23 months old, the elderly over age 65, Health Care workers in contact with patients, and people aged 6 months – 60 years suffering from chronic diseases such as Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, HIV, and renal dysfunction.
The use of seasonal influenza vaccine is one of several interventions for reducing opportunities for the simultaneous infection of humans with avian and human influenza viruses – genetic re-assortment. Acute respiratory infections is the second highest leading causes of hospitalization among all age groups and is the highest among children - 1 year. The main purpose of providing seasonal influenza vaccine is to avoid severe influenza and its complications.
The side effects like other vaccines are mild fever, pain, redness and swelling at the injection site, and maybe headache in adults; flu-like symptoms may occur.
Influenza has a high burden of disease and can also produce pandemics with major social disruption and economic losses. The United States spends US $71 – 167 billion per year due to the annual flu (Seasonal Influenza) epidemics. Over TWO THOUSAND cases of influenza like illnesses (ILI) were reported in Belize for the year 2007. Seasonal Influenza vaccines are available through the Ministry of Health and will contribute to reduce the number of persons affected and/or complicated with ILI.
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is an infectious disease of birds and mammals caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae (the influenza viruses). Common symptoms of the disease are chills and fever, pharyngitis, muscle pains, severe headache, cough, weakness and general discomfort. In more serious cases, influenza causes pneumonia, which can be fatal, particularly in young children and the elderly. Although it is sometimes confused with the common cold, influenza is a much more severe disease and is caused by a different type of virus.
For more information contact your nearest Health Center.