Mauritius: The anti-influenza vaccination exercise 2023 was launched this morning, by the Minister of Social Integration, Social Security and National Solidarity, Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, at the NPF Building in Rose Hill.
The Member of Parliament, Ivan Leslie Collendavelloo; the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Mauritius, Dr Anne Marie Ancia; the Director, Medical Unit of the Ministry of Social Integration, Social Security and National Solidarity, Dr Yaarthi Devi Soopal-Lutchmun; and other personalities were present during the event.
In her address, Minister Jeewa-Daureeawoo emphasised the importance of the anti-influenza vaccine in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and other prevailing respiratory diseases, as well as the upcoming winter season. She underlined that her Ministry is committed to catering for the well-being of elderlies and to providing the necessary healthcare facilities to protect their health.
Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo also highlighted that some 50,000 doses of vaccines had been ordered as regards the anti-influenza vaccination exercise targeting, in particular: elderly persons aged 60 and above; children with disabilities attending specialised schools; and all inmates of charitable institutions and private licensed homes.
The Minister indicated that children with disabilities, attending specialised schools, and all inmates of some 22 charitable institutions as well as the 52 private licensed homes, will require some 3,000 doses of vaccines during this anti-influenza vaccination campaign. “Around 23,000 bedridden persons who cannot attend the vaccination centres will be vaccinated by the Ministry’s doctors at home itself during their medical house visits,” she pointed out.
On this score, she urged the people who came for vaccination to invite their friends and relatives to come forward for the anti-influenza vaccine as this will help protect themselves as well as the population.
Minister Jeewa-Daureeawoo also seized the opportunity to announce that Government is putting in place a National Integrated Policy for Older Persons Action Plan 2023-2026. This Action Plan, she stressed, is a detailed plan that will cater to the health of older persons as the elderly population is increasing.
This Action Plan, the Minister remarked, is a joint collaboration between her Ministry, the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the WHO, and will focus on how to devise strategies to promote good health amongst the ageing population through proper nutrition and proper ways of medication so that we have a healthy elderly population.
For his part, Mr Collendavelloo noted that the vaccination campaign against influenza had proved its efficacy in Mauritius and around the globe for a long. He further appealed to the population to continue maintaining sanitary precautions, such as wearing face masks and using hand sanitisers, as the COVID-19 virus is still present within the community.
He observed that it is the responsibility of every individual to maintain sanitary precautions and to get inoculated. “By being vaccinated, you do not only help to protect yourself but also your surroundings and the population”, he added.
As for the WHO Representative, she informed that after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown periods and with the ease of sanitary precautions, an increase in respiratory infections had been noted. This vaccination, she underscored, is therefore essential to protect ourselves from respiratory infections.
Director Soopal-Lutchmun, for her part, dwelt on the importance of getting vaccinated against influenza, notably to prevent complications leading to serious respiratory issues such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and in some cases, death. “Influenza is a viral infection that is very contagious and spreads by air, especially where there are groups of people, and affects particularly those that are vulnerable and have a weak immune system,” she pointed out.
On this score, the Director appealed to the elderly population and the vulnerable part of the population, such as those with cancer, HIV patients, or other illnesses, to get inoculated in order to enjoy good health. “The Ministry, in a bid to come closer to the population and give everyone the opportunity to get vaccinated, is providing the vaccines in several vaccination centres around the country”, she said.