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Low Flu and Covid Vaccination Coverage Leading to Increased Respiratory Virus Infections in Extremadura

The low vaccination coverage against flu and covid is being the Achilles heel of the respiratory virus season in Extremadura. The rate is below the desired rate and that is causing, according to health experts, more infections.

This is stated by the Extremaduran pediatrician Ana María Grande Tejada, who works at the Maternal and Child Hospital of Badajoz. She is second vice president of the Spanish Association of Vaccinology and assures that “there is a fatigue with vaccination, a vaccine fatigue due to the pandemic, which is not only affecting covid, but also flu, and hence there is a wave of respiratory viruses worse.

It emphasizes that with the campaign almost finished (it ends on January 31) this low coverage, which is around 71% in the target population of the flu and 55% in the covid, according to the Ministry of Health, is having an impact and This is what is being seen this year.

Added to this fatigue is that “people’s perception is that the flu is a banal disease and that the vaccine is not effective.” He says that this is flatly false and calls for vaccination because “it is the best prevention against respiratory infections.”

Furthermore, the expert has missed that the health authorities have insisted more on vaccination. She welcomes the new measure of getting vaccinated without an appointment announced this Tuesday, but she assures that the “impact would be greater if it had arrived earlier. The flu vaccine takes about two weeks to start protecting,” she adds.

He states that “people should have been vaccinated since October, which was when the campaign began in Extremadura” and, in any case, he encourages them to do so now if they have not yet received the injection. “It is important; “The peak of infections has not yet been reached and vaccination always prevents.”

He sees vaccination without an appointment as positive in an extraordinary way, but “the impact would be greater if it had arrived earlier”

It details that vaccination without an appointment in an extraordinary manner should be a measure, as should the use of masks in health centers during the time of respiratory viruses, which should be implemented with anticipation in the coming years.

«The extraordinary vaccination does not need to be at the beginning of the campaign because at the beginning those who are sure of it and do it every year are vaccinated, but it would be good if this were done from the fourth or fifth week of the campaign to attract those who are undecided or have not thought about getting vaccinated,” he says.


Although the Board has tried to reach more groups this year to have greater immunization, this is not giving the expected results. An example of this is what happened with the child population. For the first time, a free flu injection is given to children from six months to five years old, but it is not catching on with parents. Coverage barely reaches 30%.

In addition to the reasons that have influenced the low rate for the elderly, in the case of children Grande says that it may also be due to the fact that this year there has been a lot of emphasis on vaccination against the respiratory syncytial virus, which causes the majority of bronchiolitis in babies, and the flu has taken a backseat.

Given this, this pediatrician calls on parents to vaccinate their children. And she gives compelling reasons. «The flu is not a cold. They can have a fever for a week and children under two years of age are hospitalized relatively frequently, as it is related to a higher incidence of bacterial infections, meningitis and otitis,” she explains.

Likewise, children take longer to eliminate the flu virus and their viral load is higher. “Stopping the flu in them makes it have an impact on the entire population,” concludes the pediatrician, who believes that the peak of infections will arrive in the coming weeks.

2024-01-10 06:08:38
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