Expert predicts that the flu “is going to normalize” this year and urges to be vaccinated


The virologist, scientific advisor and director emeritus of the National Influenza Center of Valladolid, Raúl Ortiz de Lejarazu, has predicted that the flu “is going to normalize” this year after the pandemic and has urged to be vaccinated, because the coronavirus should not mislead the population when it comes to getting immunized against the flu or other diseases that are “as important or more so”.

De Lejarazu offered a press conference this Thursday with doctors Federico Martinón, María Fernández and Jaime Jesús Pérez, on the occasion of the ‘VIII Update Meeting and new approaches in vaccines. Vaccines for a better world’ that takes place today and tomorrow at the Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP), and in which normalization after the pandemic and the situation of ordinary vaccines will be discussed.

The virologist, who calls the current period “acute post-pandemic” rather than “post-pandemic”, explained that the situation experienced due to covid and the consequent isolation of people in their homes for a long time, has caused a flu “very rare” and the “longest” that there has been, with two peaks of infections. “We did not have a year without the flu as was said or has been made to think,” he pointed out.

This has happened, as detailed, because many people, being locked up, have not been in contact with the flu virus as usual before the pandemic, and have not been vaccinated either.

In the opinion of De Lejarazu, the flu “is going to normalize” this year and is going to cause an epidemic “more similar to the one that existed before the pandemic”, and he has indicated that what would prevent this evolution would be another wave of the Omicron variant , which would not allow coexistence with another virus such as the flu.

“As normal mobility of people is allowed, the flu will become more and more similar in magnitude and duration to what we had before”, pointed out the virologist, since, as he explained, the viruses of the flu travel with people.

In this sense, Jaime Jesús Pérez has reminded people who have recommended the flu vaccine to “get vaccinated this year”, because although it is always important, perhaps this year “it will be more so”, he said.

In line with this, De Lejarazu has assured that although the probability is “remote, around 1.5%”, a person can get the flu and covid simultaneously, which can have a “greater severity”.

And Dr. Martinón has detailed that regardless of the fact that the probability of being infected with the two viruses is low, that of sequential infection (first one and then the other), is very high and can condition a worse prognosis of the second infection, after having previously weakened immune system.

Martinón has also stressed that, in some cases, the pulmonary sequelae caused by the coronavirus can make the affected person enter the risk group against other diseases such as pneumonia, which in some places requires additional vaccination.

With all this, the doctors have insisted on the importance of not forgetting to be immunized against the flu and other diseases, because covid “is not everything”, and because, as Dr. Fernández has recalled, the main objectives of vaccination is that patients do not die, that an infection does not get complicated and that they can be at home with an infection “as trivial as possible”.

Regarding the technique of using messenger RNA for vaccines, as has been the case with the coronavirus, De Lejarazu explained that it began to be used many years ago to treat tumors, and the development and advances in this field have allowed it to be used against viruses. , because although “things still have to be perfected”, it is “one of the future paths”, he has indicated.

To conclude, the virologist has encouraged people to visit the Vaccine Tracker website, where you can consult the vaccines that are currently in development, among which there are many that use the messenger RNA technique.


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