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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thailand : Doctor slams scrapping of flu campaign

Via Bangkok Post, excerpt :

" The Public Health Ministry was rash in dropping its flu prevention campaign to combat the H1N1 influenza outbreak, an academic says.

The ministry's flu vaccination scheme is also inadequate as the 2.1 million doses of flu vaccine held in stock are insufficient to cover people in need, said Yong Poovorawan, head of Chulalongkorn University's Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology.

"Only 4% of Thais can gain access to the vaccine, which is not enough for those in need.

"It should be complemented by a prevention campaign, as the vaccine cannot ensure 100% prevention," he said yesterday.

"The best tool to contain influenza is to ensure that people with flu-like symptoms wear masks. But health authorities have not prioritised the [face mask wearing] campaign," he said.

Dr Yong said adults aged between 26-30 years contracted the H1N1 strain the most, followed by children aged one to five years.

However, the elderly, listed as a risk group and entitled to a free vaccination, were less affected.

The ministry should have focused more on mask-wearing campaigns among the public, he said.

A total of 59,412 influenza cases and 83 flu deaths were reported from January to Sept 18 this year."

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