LA PAZ – Bolivian health authorities announced on Wednesday the purchase of 1.8 million doses of the influenza vaccine in response to the flu-related deaths of 12 people.
Yandira Alcon, head of the health ministry’s influenza program, told reporters that all the fatalities occurred in the eastern province of Santa Cruz, which likewise accounts for most of the 395 confirmed cases so far.
The deceased were patients with “underlying or chronic pathologies,” and all of them were young children or seniors, she said.
The ministry has a plan for administering the vaccines, with priority given to children under 2 and adults over 60, Alcon said.
The Bolivia representative of the Pan-American Health Organization, Alfonso Tenorio, said that “the vaccine is different from last year’s,” as it is developed according to the evolution of the influenza viruses.
Southern hemisphere countries have seen an “increase in cases of influenza” this year and the trend could intensify during the May-October period, Tenorio said.
Besides children and the elderly, other groups considered to be high-risk are pregnant and postpartum women, as well as people with chronic heart or lung conditions.