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Covid-19/Influenza Vaccines Now Available

Yesterday, the 3rd of October, the region’s health centre’s began the second phase of the Influenza Vaccination Campaign.’  The campaign started in September with the vaccination of those living in institutionalised care, health care professionals, and those working in social institutions.  As of now, the vaccines are available to the general population.

In a statement, the Regional Secretary for Health and Civil Protection wrote:

“Although the preferred days and times for influenza vaccination are identified in each Health Centre, the goal is to create a drop in service so that everyone has access to these vaccinations.

Influenza vaccinations are seasonal because the immunity conferred by the vaccine only provides temporary protection, which is intended to protect people during the winter months, as the virus is more prevalent at this time of year.

After administering about 52,000 vaccines in 2021-22, and achieving a vaccination coverage of 69% of those aged 65 and above, this season’s campaign aims to reach even more people.

This year, the Regional Director for Health outlined which vulnerable groups should be vaccinated under the campaign:

(1) Persons aged 55 years and over;

(2) Chronic and immunosuppressed patients 6 months of age or older;

(3) Pregnant women;

(4) Health professionals and other carers; and

(5) other persons in specific contexts, such as residents of institutions, hospitalized in Health Units and supported at home by health teams and other home support services, inmates, security forces, preschool education professionals, and professionals from the courts and conservatories.

Around 7500 high-dosage vaccines have been administered to date to approximately 730 senior citizens living in care homes.

Another advantage of the 2022-23 campaign is that the influenza vaccine can be administered alongside the Covid-19 vaccine at all of the larger health centre’s.  Furthermore, the vaccine is both safe and effective.

Like the Influenza virus, the SARS-CoV-2 virus changes over time, and the protection provided by infection and vaccines is temporary. For this reason, seasonal vaccine reinforcements are now available, with the vaccine adapted to the latest virus variant. This vaccine includes in its composition not only a component of the original vaccines, which targets the production of antibodies against the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 but also another component for the production of antibodies to the Omicron variant.

Influenza and COVID-19 are two diseases caused by respiratory viruses, which have a major impact on the health of populations, and in particular on the most vulnerable members of society, who have a higher risk of complications.

Vaccination is a better form of prevention, preparing the immune system to respond more effectively to infectious agents, and preventing infections, but mainly by preventing serious diseases and mortality associated with these diseases. Limiting the spread of these viruses is vitally important.

Therefore, vaccination is important for personal protection, but also for the protection of all. This note, says Pedro Ramos, aligns with the challenge launched to our population in recent years, to be a public health agent. This is a belief that we believe is already part of the culture of our population, so we, in turn, look to you, our citizens to support our seasonal influenza and Covid-19 vaccination campaign.”

Samantha Gannon

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