Swine Flu Death Toll Rises To Five In Trinidad As Disease Spreads To 46 People
Trinidad’s Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh
PORT OF SPAIN – Swine flu (H1N1) has claimed its fifth victim in Trinidad and the government there says the number of confirmed cases has risen from 29 to 46, the Virgin Islands Free Press has learned.
Trinidad and Tobago Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh confirmed that a 68-year-old man died of swine Flu Friday at the Sangre Grande Area Hospital 24 days after being warded in the Intensive Care Unit.
Deyalsingh told the Trinidad Express that the man fell into the “at-risk” group, as he was an elderly person and also had a 20-year history of smoking.
VACCINES COST $700
Meanwhile, South-West Regional Health Authority chief executive officer Anil Gosine said the price of swine flu vaccine shots has spiked because of the free market system.
Gosine said on Friday that while public health institutions depended on their allocation of vaccines for the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus from the Ministry of Health, private institutions could purchase their medicine from other suppliers.
“We get our supplies from the Ministry of Health who gets them from PAHO and which would then be distributed to the various Regional Health Authorities,” Gosine told Sunday Newsday.
The issue arose following reports that Sureway, Ltd is selling the H1N1 vaccine for $700, amid a supply shortage at public institutions which are awaiting delivery of more than 20,000 vaccines in the coming days.
Gosine noted medical supplies can be sourced on the open market by private institutions which are able to set any price to the product as there were no price controls governing medicines.
“It’s really up to the consumer whether they want to purchase the product or not,” he said.
An online search for medicinal distributors revealed supplies could be sourced from distributors as far as India for medicines such as HIV drugs, antibiotics, antiviral agents, chicken pox and H1N1 vaccines.
Regarding its supply, Gosine said San Fernando General Hospital still had a H1N1 vaccines which were being administered to medical and nursing personnel as well as to those patients who had been deemed as “high risk’ including pregnant mothers, the elderly and young children.