The vaccine against influenza helps to avoid complications of the disease, especially in the most vulnerable, such as children under 5, the elderly and immunocompromised. Despite this, the number of vaccinated remains below the recommendations.
The national vaccination campaign, which started on 4/4/2022, initially aimed to vaccinate healthcare professionals and at least 90% of people over the age of 60. In the first month of the campaign, however, only 30% of the elderly were vaccinated, according to the Ministry of Health.
This year’s campaign entered its second phase on 03/05/22. The target audience for this stage is children aged 6 months to 5 years; pregnant and postpartum women; teachers from the public and private education network; Native; truck’s driver; public transport drivers; members of the security and emergency forces; people with comorbidities; people with a permanent disability; port workers; members of the armed forces; prison system personnel; adolescents and young people aged 12 to 21 under socio-educational measures; and population deprived of liberty.
Older people who have not yet been vaccinated can do so until 6/3/22, when the campaign ends. like the virus flu undergoes constant mutations, it is necessary to be vaccinated once a year, since vaccines are updated annually.
Low vaccination coverage can cause outbreaks and epidemics of influenzastraining health systems.
Moreover, contrary to what many people think, the influenza it is not a mild disease, at least not for everyone. The flu can cause serious respiratory problems and even kill the most vulnerable people, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide each year.
From now on, people will have another reason to get vaccinated: a studystill in pre-publication (article that has not yet been reviewed by other researchers who have not participated in the study), but reported in the journal naturerevealed that the vaccine against influenza can significantly reduce the risk of contracting covid-19 and developing the severe form of the disease.
The study, conducted in Qatar among more than 30,000 healthcare professionals, found that those who took the flu vaccine had a 90% lower risk of developing the severe form of covid in the months following vaccination. compared to those who did not receive the vaccine. .
The research was carried out at the end of 2020, before the development of specific vaccines against Sars-CoV-2, the virus responsible for covid, which suggests that the vaccine against influenza (and possibly other vaccines) can help the body and immune system protect against covid.
It is not known, however, how long the protection lasts. Of the study participants who received the vaccine against influenza and contracted Sars-CoV-2 later, infection occurred on average 6 months later. Researchers do not expect the protection to last long.
It is also unclear why flu vaccines, which contain killed viruses, protect against covid. Vaccines “train” the immune system to recognize specific pathogens, but they also increase antiviral defense more broadly.
Other observational study carried out with hospitalized patients with a confirmed diagnosis of covid-19 in Brazil and carried out by Brazilian and Swiss researchers, although it has limitations, it has shown an association between the flu vaccine and the reduction of the risk of developing severe covid.
Despite the difficulty of conducting studies on the protection of the flu vaccine against covid, because there is no way to assess whether people who have been vaccinated against the flu have also adopted other preventive measures against the Sars-CoV-2 study brings more evidence that other vaccines can help boost immunity against covid.
Thus, demonstrating that vaccines for other diseases can provide even partial and limited protection against covid-19 may be useful in future pandemics of still unknown diseases, for which vaccines do not yet exist.