swine_flu_vaccine.jpgFree vaccination for A(H1N1), more popularly known as swine flu, will be available for Filipinos from government health centers until Wednesday, September 15, 2010, reports this article on Yahoo! News .

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that A(H1N1) has now shifted into the post-pandemic phase, which means, according to current Philippine Secretary of Health Enrique Ona, that swine flu is now reminiscent of seasonal flu viruses in terms of behavior and intensity.

So can you still get swine flu? Yes, definitely. The virus’s post-pandemic phase means that sustained community-level transmission and localized outbreaks will still occur in the next few years. That’s why, as the head of the Department of Health’s (DOH’s) National Epidemiology Center, Dr. Eric Tayag, is quoted as saying, “Ang kababayan natin na pwedeng bumisita sa health center, magpabakuna kayo. September 15 ang huling araw ng pagbakuna. (Fellow Filipinos who can visit a health center should get vaccinated. September 15 ist the last day for vaccination.)”

But DOH isn’t just making this as widely available as possible; they’re also trying to make sure that those with higher risks of contracting and being infected with the disease are vaccinated. Secretary Ona was also quoted as saying, “We shall also intensify our vaccination strategy in targeting our health workers and high-risk groups which include pregnant women, the very young and the elderly, the immuno-compromised and those with chronic conditions, i.e., asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), diabetes, cardiovascular disease.”

Still, to those interested, you should note that vaccines are prevention and not cure. As former Health Secretary Experanza Cabral told GMANews.TV back in May, “Di na mababakuhanan kung may flu. Ang bakuna para di magkaroon noon [flu]. Kung meron na, di na kailangan ang bakuna. [Pero] itong trangkaso generally very mild gumagaling nang kusa in one week (We can no longer vaccinate those with the flu. You get vaccinated so you don’t get it. If you already have it, you don’t need a vaccine. This type of flu is generally very mild, and the patient gets well after a week.)” And if you do have the vaccine? The best thing you can do is rest, says the same article.

(Photo source: sxc.hu)

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