QUITO – Ecuador spent $10 million to acquire 3.9 million doses of influenza vaccine amid a flu outbreak that has affected nearly 500 people and claimed 23 lives in the Andean nation, the deputy health minister told EFE on Wednesday.
Nearly 1 million people have already been vaccinated, Dr. Carlos Duran said.
The emphasis of the free vaccination program has been in Quito and the surrounding province of Pichincha, which accounts for 80 percent of the 497 confirmed cases noted between Nov. 19 and Jan. 20, he said.
Priority for the vaccines is being given to children under 5, pregnant women, people over 65 and those suffering from chronic illnesses, as well as health-care personnel.
People who feel flu symptoms should seek medical help, Duran said, while emphasizing that influenza outbreaks will always be a feature of winter season.