Experts call for reinforcing flu vaccination in the first fall without masks
Prepare for the worst because the flu it is unpredictable. This is the maxim of many Public Health experts in the face of next season flu, the first since 2019 that we face without the help of masks. And it is that these last two years the virus of the influenza has been circulating rather littlethanks in large part to the parallel measures adopted against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, such as the use of face masks.
In this almost back to normal which will be this fall, there is concern that the flu will circulate intensely again after two years almost blank with the toll that this can suppose, as in previous years, both in saturation in health centers and hospitals, sick leave and in human lives. The concern is double, furthermore, in a winter in which it is still unknown what the evolution of the covid-19 and if it will generate new important waves of infections.
The watchword, therefore, is to prepare and prevent, betting on increase the number of people who are vaccinated against the flu. “The virus in practice is very unpredictable and you have to Prepare the worst scenario with a very good vaccination campaign”, assures this newspaper the expert in Public Health and researcher in Fisabio, Salvador Peiro. “After two years with almost no flu and with a warning in the spring (out of season for us), it doesn’t look good,” adds the expert.
“Our position is to recommend vaccination (…) and ideally maintain high coverage. We do not know what the activity of influenza viruses will be like,” says microbiologist José María Eiros
Of the same opinion is Jose Maria Eirosspokesperson for the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases (SEIMC) and director of the National Center for Flu of Valladolid. “Our position is to recommend vaccination when it is established by the public health services of the different communities and ideally maintain high coverage”, assures the expert, above all because “we do not know what the activity of influenza viruses will be like”.
The flu virus is “unpredictable”
And all because what will happen in the coming months is highly uncertain. The flu activity that is taking place in the southern hemisphere gives some clue but it is not a guarantee that the same scheme will be replicated here. “In South America, after two years also with almost no flu, a bad season was also expected but, although they have had the flu, It has not been catastrophic. If the flu travels from hemisphere to hemisphere with travelers and in the austral winter there has been little, there is less transmission to the boreal… but all that is theory “, Peiro explains.
Eiros Bouza supports this idea: “What has happened in the southern hemisphere and the activity reported by the flu centers in Argentina or Chile and those of British influence (South Africa, Australia…) has shown a moderate activity” but, “with the flu uncertainty is a variable that accompanies us, but he will visit us,” concludes the flu expert.
good response last year
The Ministry of Health already marked last year the objective of increase vaccination coverage in flu for the fall-winter 2021-2022 for fear that a bad flu campaign and a new epidemic wave would collapse hospitals. And it worked. The message got through and the offer get vaccinated at the same time for flu and covid helped increase the volume of people protectedespecially among health workers: in this group, coverage went from from 58% in 2018 to 95% last year.
From the health administration they have not yet wanted to specify the main lines of this vaccination campaign, so it is still unknown from what date this immunization will be offered or if it will match with the fourth dose of covid-19 vaccine that has been approved for people over 60 years of age, still without a date. In C. Valenciana it is common for the campaign don’t start until early or mid Octoberlater than in other areas of Spain because the flu usually arrives later than in other colder communities.