Thais are being urged to get an influenza vaccination as almost 100,000 people have been infected so far this year and at least six have died. 

Dr Tawee Chotepittayasunont, president of the Paediatric Infectious Diseases Society of Thailand, said on Friday that the number of child patients is nine times higher than adults.

“As a precaution, it is best to take a vaccine shot,” Tawee said.

The Disease Control Department found that as many as 99,087 people came down with influenza between January 1 and March 18, he said.

“This is equivalent to 151.45 patients per 100,000 population,” he said.

The vaccine was effective in preventing influenza, he said, and where the disease is not entirely effective, it will still significantly reduce the period of symptoms from seven days to just one or two days.

This year, the National Health Security Office has prepared four mission vaccine doses for people. These vaccines will be given to members of vulnerable groups such as women who are at least four months into their pregnancy, babies aged between six months and two years old, the obese, and people living with HIV.

Symptoms associated with influenza are a fever, pains and aches, headache, sore throat, stuffy noses, and fatigue.

“If children catch the influenza, they should take leave from their schools to avoid spreading the disease,” Tawee said.