Low Flu Circulation Last Season Can Lead to Weakened Herd Immunity, More Severe Cases This Season - Experts

SC 12:10:31 12-10-2021
DS1208.108
108 HEALTHCARE - INFLUENZA - SEASONAL FLU - VACCINES

Low Flu Circulation Last Season Can Lead
to Weakened Herd Immunity,
More Severe Cases This Season - Experts


Sofia, October 12 (BTA) - The low flu circulation during the last season can lead to weakened herd immunity and more severe cases this season, said the head of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Country Office in Bulgaria, Dr. Skender Syla, during a BTA-hosted news conference here on Tuesday. According to him, more serious flu infections can be expected among children under 10 years of age and among people over 65.

The flu is a preventable infectious disease that is easily transmitted and infects around 10 to 30 per cent of the population each year, leading to hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations across Europe, Syla added.

Prof. Iva Hristova of the National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases said that over 8,400 people were hospitalized with the flu last year, the majority of whom were over 65 or people suffering from chronic diseases. Hristova said that according to her Centre's data, a flu epidemic can be expected this year. She recalled that the WHO recommends there be a 14-day interval between the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine and the flu shot.

Bulgaria ranks last in Europe in terms of flu vaccination coverage, which is under 10 per cent, said Valeri Tsekov of the Bulgarian Innovative Medicine Association. According to him, the flu vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased over the past two years as part of a national programme.

This year's flu vaccine provides protection against the following influenza strains: Victoria, Cambodia, Washington, Phuket. The free flu shot, offered as part of the national programme, will be supplied to general practitioners in mid-October, the Health Ministry reported in recent days. MY


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