Country braces for flu season amid pandemic

Country braces for flu season amid pandemic

Prescriptions of the flu vaccines for this year’s flu season begin on October 1, with the process expected to unfold in tandem with the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Accordingly, pharmacies are expected to have received 1.6 million doses of influenza vaccines out of the at least 4 million that have been secured to meet Greece’s needs by the end of September.

The distribution of vaccines will again this year be conducted only with an electronic prescription to the population groups for which the vaccination is recommended and, specifically, to people over 60, as well as people belonging to high-risk groups. These include people with chronic respiratory, cardiovascular and chronic kidney diseases, as well as diabetes and immunosuppressed patients, pregnant women, the obese and health professionals.

Experts have stressed the need for vaccination against the flu by all people over the age of 60 and members of vulnerable groups, insisting that this is especially necessary in the midst of a pandemic. 

“The need to protect oneself from the flu virus through vaccination is even more intense,” said Athanasios Skoutelis, professor of infectious diseases and a member of the National Vaccination Committee, in comments to Kathimerini.

He added that it would be “tragic for someone to get two viruses at the same time, the flu and the coronavirus, especially when there are vaccines that protect against these viruses.” 

“Vaccination, along with the use of a mask and keeping a distance, will help eliminate the flu, something that was seen very strongly last year. And this shows how important it is to comply with the protection measures for the flu, which every year, with the exception of last year – is responsible for hundreds of deaths,” he said. What’s more, he noted that last year no hospitalizations or deaths were registered due to flu.

In contrast, in 2019-20, 233 patients were admitted to the ICU and 116 deaths were reported.

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