PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — The Ministry of Health has confirmed that the number of people who have died as a result of the influenza virus has risen to 32 as it continues with its “robust nationwide influenza vaccination drive”.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram, speaking on a radio programme here, said that while the country is not in a crisis as a result of the number of deaths recorded, it was also important for people to ensure that they get vaccinated.

“We are concerned with the number of deaths. What we are looking at is what category of people…and it falls into the category of what we have been saying all along,” he told radio listeners.

In November, the ministry said that the number of suspected cases for this flu season had reached 2,738 and that there had been 16 confirmed deaths. The ministry said that the cumulative number of vaccines administered to the public so far was 16,301.

The latest figures show that the number of suspected cases had reached 3,232 while the cumulative number of vaccines administered to the public so far was 33,101 as of December 9.

In a statement, the ministry said that the campaign has been implemented to protect the population against the flu and that the majority of people who have died from influenza this season “exhibited at least one of following characters: 65 years or older, five years or less, diabetic, hypertensive, obese, and smoked tobacco products.

“The influenza virus is serious and is generally more severe than the common cold. The flu vaccine is available at no cost at all health centres,” the ministry said, urging health care workers to also ensure that they are vaccinated.

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