THE AH1N1 virus claimed three lives in Panama in July in spite of a $10 million dollar investment in vaccines and a massive promotional campaign by the Ministry of Health (Minsa). None of the victims had been vaccinated
Itzel de Hewitt, head of the Ministry’s Integral Care Program made the announcement on Friday, August 11.
Those who o died were a nine-month-old baby, from Bocas del Toro, and two adults over 58 years one from Tortí, in the district of Chepo, and one from Panama.City.
These are the first three deaths from AH1N1 in 2017, said de Hewitt and said the deaths should not have occurred because Panama this year has the tetravalent vaccine that covers two types of influenza A and two of the B.
The infant died due to influenza type B, a strain covered by the current vaccine, he explained. “With an investment of $ 10 million, at this point, there should not have been any deaths,” Hewitt said.
According to Minsa data, 63 cases of influenza have been reported and more than 1.3 million doses of vaccine have been administered against the virus, which, in 2016, killed 64 people, and a national health alert was declared.
To prevent more cases health authorities are asking those who have not been vaccinated to do so now, especially the priority groups, children under 5, pregnant women, adults over 60 and patients with chronic illnesses.