Why is the flu vaccine not recommended for everyone?

Expert Adolfo García Sastre has proposed vaccinating the entire population against flu: “This would reduce cases”

The flu vaccination campaign in Spain is focused on protecting the most vulnerable. Especially, this season tried to reach mostly People over the age of 60, people in other at-risk age groups – including smokers, their cohabitants, children aged 6-59 months and healthy people.

“The objective of the flu vaccination program is Reduce mortality and morbidity associated with influenza. and the impact of the disease on the community and health and social health care capacity. Therefore, its basic objective is to protect people who are at higher risk of complications if they contract flu and who may transmit the disease to others who are also at higher risk of complications,” the health ministry said. 65 and above.

Now, the model that Spain follows It is not the only one that exists. As he commented in a recent interview this diary Distinguished researcher at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York Adolfo García Sastre, In the United States, health officials recommend these doses to the entire population over six months of age—they are usually covered by public or private health insurance. And, in his opinion, bridging the gap between health systems in Spain as well This debate can be started, Looking forward to next season, to try to limit the saturation of the health system.

“I have always proposed increasing the recommendation of vaccination against flu For all population groups. “It doesn’t eliminate all cases, but it does reduce them,” he proposed.

Screenshot 2024 01 10 at 16.24.34
Source: CDC.

reluctance

Of course, if this option is chosen, other consulted experts argue, The aim should be to maintain high coverage in adults and children And, at the same time, try to actively reach out to the remaining population.

However, they clarify, we will not be at the best moment for this Universalization of these supplements, Since then bounce Vaccination experienced during the pandemic could have ended.

This season it will be far from the established objective of covering 70%-75% of the population aged over 60 – according to estimates, it will remain below 65%, and in some autonomous communities such as Catalonia even below 50%. Decreases – and experts think this may be due to a certain vaccine fatigue.

What’s more, immunologist and professor at the University of Valencia, rafael toledo ,@alfwarrior), greater emphasis on universalization may be counterproductive right now, although it may have positive effects from a public health perspective.

“Right now with all the controversies that exist with vaccines, I don’t know if this would really be the appropriate solution. Ultimately, there may be a rebound effect,” he says.

Furthermore, he says, “It’s inconvenient, because it’s an annual “And there will be a significant cost, not because of the price of the doses, but because of the logistics required to vaccinate 40 million people every year.”

Overall, he comments, from a public health point of view, this would be an interesting measure and remember: “Years ago, in Spain, vaccination was recommended for everyone.”

CSIC Immunologist, Matilde Canales ,@CanellesMatilde), there is also doubt about this “The measure was well accepted in Spain.” “Unfortunately, there is increasing resistance to getting vaccinated. This will require a massive information campaign,” he says.

For his part, the head of the immunology service of the CU Virgen de Arrixaca Hospital, manuel muro ,@muromanuel5), assures that, if this option were chosen, a lot of emphasis would have to be placed on communication, because, for example, this year, people who are not from risk groups are able to get vaccinated, but not What happened was, in their opinion, communicated correctly.

“Here, in Murcia, the campaign for all started on 11 December. But it is not well known and few people under 65 are vaccinated,” Tells.

Furthermore, it should be noted that in Spain, in principle, the campaign It is not designed to vaccinate the entire general population: Non-vulnerable groups are vaccinated with doses left after priority groups, but they are not purchased for all Spaniards, as was done with Covid-19 doses during the pandemic.

What’s more, the Health Ministry assures this newspaper that Changing models is not in their plans. “At this time, flu vaccination recommendations will not be revised and, in keeping with the objective of this programme, universal vaccination is not contemplated,” he says.

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