More than 90,000 people in the Balearics have so far received a flu jab. The vaccination campaign started on 26 October and will finish on 14 December. In Majorca, there have been more than 73,000 jabs.
Patricia Gómez, the health minister, received her own jab today and explained that the health service has a total of 150,500 doses of vaccine at its disposal. The over-65s and people with chronic diseases are particularly vulnerable, she noted. As far as the former group is concerned, only some 37% had been vaccinated by the end of last month; this corresponded to just over 50,000 senior citizens in Majorca.
Other groups who are being protected against flu include health service personnel, members of the security forces, caregivers and teachers. Gómez stressed the importance of vaccination to such groups in order to limit the possibility of passing on flu to others who could develop complications because of it.
If it is necessary to receive treatment, ministry advice is to go to health centres and not to hospitals, where emergency units can easily become overstretched; these units are always placed under pressure because of more serious complaints arising from flu. Measures to avoid transmission include regular washing of hands, covering the mouth when coughing and not reusing handkerchiefs.
The ministry offers a reminder that there isn't medication to cure flu but that antipyretics - to reduce fever - can be helpful, as is the drinking of plenty of liquid. Antibiotics are not effective in tackling the virus, but in any event have to be prescribed by a doctor.
Towards the end of November, the number of flu cases in the Balearics was 18.2 out of 100,000 people. This was well below a national rate of 31.8.
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