The Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Programme for 2019 was officially launched on 11 April 2019 by Dr Hon. Anwar Husnoo, Minister of Health and Quality of Life at Dr. Hyderkhan Mediclinic in Plaine-Verte, Mauritius. The event was attended by the general population and other relevant personalities including Dr. Laurent Musango, WHO Representative in Mauritius who sets the example by receiving the first influenza vaccine for this year-round.
In his speech, Dr Hon A. Husnoo, Health Minister, pointed out that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends influenza vaccinations be offered on a routine basis every year, particularly to people at risk of influenza complications and those who live with or care for individuals at risk, as influenza is highly contagious and can rapidly spiral into serious impediments. He added that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life is targeting people at risk of influenza complications, but all citizens can benefit from the seasonal influenza vaccination programme as a preventive measure.
Individuals at risk comprise the elderly aged 65 or above; people with chronic diseases such as asthma, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, cancer, diabetes amongs others; immunosuppressed people namely those living with HIV or on chemotherapy and long-term steroids treatment and their household contacts; people living together in large numbers in an environment where influenza is likely to spread rapidly, such as prisons, nursing homes, schools and dormitories. Health care workers are also highly recommended to get vaccinated to first, prevent sickness and secondly, to avert from contaminating patients, pregnant women as well as infants and children aged between 6 months to 5 years old.
In 2018, there were 230,424 influenza cases in Mauritius while in 2017, the country experienced an outbreak of influenza where an upsurge rising from 6,000 to 10,000 influenza cases were registered weekly.
The influenza vaccination campaign is currently in full swing given that the seasonal influenza situation worsens between the months of May and July in the island.