TEGUCIGALPA – Honduran health authorities launched on Monday a vaccination campaign against the flu, which has caused at least 10 deaths and infected more than 100 people so far this year, officials said.
Health Minister Octavio Sanchez told reporters that the aim of the campaign is to minimize the impact of the disease via preventive measures.
In addition, the campaign seeks to keep the number of flu patients as low as possible along with the seriousness of their complications if they do become infected, the minister said before receiving his own flu shot at a Tegucigalpa health center.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez invited his fellow citizens, especially people in higher-risk groups, to get vaccinated to lessen the chances that they will contract it.
“Today, the flu vaccination period begins. It will start in Francisco Morazan and Cortez, prioritizing the clinically vulnerable population. I call upon parents of families to go to the closest health centers,” wrote Hernandez in a Twitter message.
People age 59 and over, healthcare workers, children under age 5, the chronically ill and pregnant women are considered to be the most vulnerable groups and they will receive the first vaccinations, health authorities said.
According to figures compiled by the Health Secretariat, at least 10 people have died this year from the influenza A virus, and more than 140 Hondurans have been infected.
The vaccination campaign, which will run through the end of May, will be free to the public, the head of the Metropolitan Health Region of the Central District, Dr. Harry Bock, told reporters.
The main symptoms of the flu include fever of up to 39 C (102 F), chills, head and muscle aches, sneezing, intense and persistent cough, nasal congestion, watery eyes and a slightly inflamed throat.