The Ministry of Health has enabled 635 spaces (civic centers, libraries, sports halls), throughout the territory, to be able to vaccinate against the flu. The objective is, in collaboration with the different municipalities, to bring out the flu campaign, which It started this Thursday of primary care centers (CAP), as EL PERIÓDICO had already advanced, to offer “safe spaces” and relieve the CAPs of care pressure. These new spaces are intended for those health centers with space problems and without the possibility of offering a double circuit. It is the nursing staff of the health centers who are vaccinating.
“The flu is also a public health problem. This year, due to the covid-19 pandemic, getting vaccinated is still very important “, highlighted the ‘Minister’ of Health, Alba Vergés. “The flu vaccine reduces hospitalization and mortality in people at risk of serious illness. This it would lower the healthcare pressure that there is already by coronavirus, “he stressed. This is the other great objective of this year’s campaign: that the coverage of the flu vaccine increases more than ever and avoid a collapse of a health system that is already seeing how they grow without stopping the new infections of coronavirus.
Health seeks that the 75% of those over 60 are vaccinated and health professionals, 60% of pregnant women and 70% of social health professionals, essential services (such as firefighters and police) and people who care for others at risk. Also, this year, for the first time, teachers are also included as a recommended population to get the vaccine and Salut seeks to get 60% of the group vaccinated. Premature children up to 2 years of age and children under 14 years of age who have chronic diseases should also be vaccinated. In these cases, coverage is expected to be 30%.
“If the flu virus and covid-19 coincide in a patient, the probability of dying from covid is double,” warned the general director of Promoció de la Salut, Carmen Cabezas. The experience in the southern hemisphere, that winter has passed, indicates that this year the flu could be more aggressive than other years: the mask, good hand hygiene and social distance protect from more viruses than covid-19.
Catalunya has bought this year 1,500,000 doses, 230,000 more than last year. It has doubled the budget for flu vaccination this year, reaching the 8.4 million euros: on the one hand, because more vaccines have been bought and, on the other, because more doses of the quadrivalent vaccine have been bought (the most effective and which is more expensive). This year Catalonia will dispense 830,000 doses of the tetravalent, compared to 20,000 last year, and will be aimed at young people and the elderly who are in residences, since they are those who are most at risk. Trivalent boosted immunity vaccines will go for those over 65 years of age.
The effectiveness of the flu vaccine is average. For strain A, last year it was 51%. For B, it was around 40%. “Although the effectiveness is medium, last year this vaccine prevented 37% of deaths throughout Spain, 40% of admissions to intensive care units (ucis) and 26% of hospitalizations in those over 60 years of age”, Cabezas pointed out, insisting on the importance of getting vaccinated. In addition, he stressed that 70% of severe cases of flu last year occurred in people who had not received the vaccine.