The rapid jump in Covid-19 is becoming more dangerous as the flu season approaches. Demand for influenza vaccines has grown rapidly and in a few months as many people have been vaccinated as during the epidemic last year. For those risk groups for which vaccination is provided by the state, the dose may be sufficient, but in pharmacies and vaccination rooms, influenza vaccinations have mostly run out and can no longer be obtained even for a fee.
Of the almost 200,000 vaccines delivered to the Latvian market this season, the state has purchased 90,000. This is 12% more than last year, when 33,000 doses were provided for vaccination of risk groups.
However, it is already clear that this year the interest in flu vaccines is so great that it will probably not be enough for the whole season.
“Practically, we can say that in two months, the entire amount of the previous seasons has been practically used. Manufacturers already produce vaccines essentially on the basis of last season’s consumption figures. As a result, it was not possible to anticipate this huge public interest in vaccination with Covid-19, ”says Jana Feldmane, Head of the Environmental Health Division at the Ministry of Health.
Influenza vaccines are provided by the state to pregnant women, children under the age of two and from this year – also to medical personnel and long-term social care centers. Also this season, seniors over the age of 65 are reimbursed 100% for flu vaccines. The Ministry of Health points out that one third of the state-paid vaccines have already been used, but the acute shortage is not yet.
However, due to the large amount purchased by the state, the shortage of vaccines has developed in the free market or in pharmacies and vaccination rooms of treatment centers. For example, the Health Center 4 vaccines ran out a week ago. There will be no new season.
“We knew we would need 12,000 of these vaccines, and we also ordered these vaccines from wholesalers because they approached us in March. However, in anticipation of the time of the flu season, of course, we were not given all 12,000, we were unfortunately only given eight, because three were directed to the state. “
However, Fyodorova points out that she does not understand where the vaccines purchased by the state really are, because, for example, family doctors still come to receive them for a fee. The Ministry of Health explains that the identification of social care and medical staff is still in progress, but in the near future vaccines will be delivered directly to the institutions.
At the same time, both the ministry and the health center point out that there will be no new introductions to paid vaccines this year, as they are in short supply throughout Europe.
Influenza vaccines are becoming the most popular among the Latvian population year after year. table. For example, if three years ago 38,000 people used the opportunity to be vaccinated, then last year – almost 90,000. Along with the increase in vaccination, the number of deaths from this disease is also decreasing. Table. Statistics show that in the 2018 season, 86 people died from the flu, but last year – 26.
Doctors state that 100% vaccination does not protect against any disease, but it can significantly ease the course of the disease.
“The vaccine could certainly protect against the serious consequences of the disease. Hospitalization does not occur in a person, nor does it apply to the course of the disease – it is easier for vaccinated persons. not to mention the deaths, because no deaths were registered in the vaccinated persons, ”explains Larisa Savrasova, an epidemiologist at the Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
Experts remind that frequent hand washing, complete nutrition, distancing and the use of face masks can also protect against the flu.