Government buys 80,000 doses of vaccine, 16,000 people vaccinated

Parliamentary secretary Mario Galea urges public to take vaccine against influenza.

According to parliamentary secretary Mario Galea, thousands of flu vaccines are thrown away each year.
According to parliamentary secretary Mario Galea, thousands of flu vaccines are thrown away each year.

To date, 16,000 people have been vaccinated against the flu at the health centres whilst local councils have ordered more than 20,000 vaccines.

Palriamentary secretary for the elderly Mario Galea said that government this year bought 80,000 doses of vaccine at a cost of around € 250,000.

Urging the people to get vaccinated, Galea also revealed that thousands of vaccines are thrown away each year.

He also reassured the public that the flu vaccine that was withdrawn in Italy was not registered in Malta.

"This vaccine was never introduced or marketed in out country. The Maltese public was never exposed to any risk," he said.

Galea explained that the vaccine purchased by government was manufactured by another company and passed all processes of verification set by the European Union.

"There is no risk associated with this vaccine and the public is encouraged to continue to get vaccinated against influenza," he said.

Vaccination against seasonal flu started on 22 October 2012. The flu is mostly active during the colder months of winter; between October and May.

"Although it can affect everybody, the most vulnerable are the elderly and those suffering from medical and chronic problems," Galea said.

Influenza leads to complications such as pneumonia and can lead to death. It is estimated that between 250,000 and 500,000 people die with the flu globally.

The vaccine is recommended for everyone who is six months of age upwards.

 Government offers the vaccine free to those who are most vulnerable:

1.      anyone who has more than 55 years

2.      infants and children between 6 months and 5 years

3.      anyone who suffers from chronic lung, heart, liver, kidney, diabetes and related diseases such as HIV immunodeficiency or AIDS

4.      all residents in institutions.

Also eligible for the vaccine:

  • Health professionals and other staff who are in contact with patients
  • Staff working in institutions and nursing homes, as well as residents in nursing homes

Others include those who work in the police corps, the armed forces, civil protection, centres and open detention centres, the veterinary services, abattoirs, cleaning department, customs officials and staff and residents of Corradino Correctional Facility and students attending schools for the disabled.

Person less than 55 years, having a yellow card or a recent medical certificate as evidence of chronic diseases will be provided with free vaccination.

Clients who are hospitalised at the time of vaccination can take the vaccine at the hospital.


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