Ho Chi Minh City residents have been heading to local medical centers to receive vaccination of A/H1N1 influenza after three people have recently died of the respiratory disease in the metropolis.
At least 40 patients at the Tu Du Hospital, the city’s leading public institution in obstetrics, and Cho Ray, the metropolis’ largest general hospital, have tested positive for the swine flu.
Some patients have been down with swine flu for a full week but their conditions have not improved due to pre-existing conditions such as kidney failure, diabetes and lupus, doctors said.
Given the situation, many people in the southern hub have been rushing to local vaccinations centers to receive flu shots for their own safety.
According to Dr. Nguyen Thu Cuc, who works at a center of the Vietnam Vaccination Center JSC (VNVC) in Phu Nhuan District, the number of patients requesting for A/H1N1 vaccine at the venue has increased by five to ten times compared with normal days.
N.T.L., 65, said he took his wife and their three grandchildren to the center for the vaccination, as they belong to the age groups that have higher risk of infection.
This is the first time the family receive the vaccination, L. added.
L.T.M.H., a 41-year-old doctor in Go Vap District, said she also had her children injected with the vaccine.
Statistics from the Preventive Medicine Center of Ho Chi Minh City showed that the number of people asking for flu shots has recently surged in the metropolis.
The trend could be triggered by the previous fatalities caused by the disease.
Who are more at risk?
According to Dr. Nguyen Thu Cuc, the current flu shot is able to prevent three types of influenza, namely A/H1N1, A/H2N3, and type B.
The A/H1N1 influenza is high dangerous for elderly people, children, pregnant women, obese people and patients of such terminal illnesses as kidney failure, diabetes and asthma, Cuc elaborated.
The vaccination will start producing antibodies after a week, but it will work best after two to four weeks, the expert continued.
For children under nine years old who receive their first-ever flu vaccine, two shots with a one-month interval are required in order to have the result.
Children over nine years old only need one shot.
The vaccination has to be taken on a yearly basis, Cuc stressed.
Swine flu, known to be caused by the H1N1strain of the influenza A virus, is a respiratory disease with symptoms including chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness, and general discomfort.
The A/H1N1 virus can be transmitted by droplets emanating from unprotected coughs and sneezes, hand contamination, and interpersonal encounters in crowded closed spaces, according to the World Health Organization.