The Health Bureau’s (SSM) Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator Leong Iek Hou said on Monday that people should get their flu vaccinations early because it takes two weeks to be effective, and next month’s Chinese New Year takes place when the flu season is expected to peak.
Leong made the comments during a press conference with Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Director Lam Chong and Conde de S. Januário Hospital Centre Emergency Division Acting Chief Chang Tam Fei.
According to Leong, the bureau has purchased 190,000 doses of flu vaccines and began providing free flu shots to high-risk residents on September 30, and then to all other residents from December 10.
Leong said that a total of 127,791 people have been vaccinated, 10 per cent more than in the same period last year.
She also pointed out that for Macau the H1N1 virus is the most common cause of flu, adding that from September to December 29, 10 cases of flu with pneumonia or other complications were recorded of which three patients were still in hospital on Monday whose conditions were stable. Of these cases, nine had not been vaccinated.
According to the Macau Post Daily, Leong added that besides flu, people should also be vigilant for other illnesses and diseases such as dengue and measles, and take precautions when travelling abroad.
Asked whether non-resident workers who are carers and domestic helpers are eligible for the free flu shots, Lam said they could get it for a fee from private clinics and private hospitals.