In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Public Health Commission has insisted on the need to increase flu vaccination coverage for the 2021-2022 season. For this, coverage objectives have been set out: reaching or exceeding 75 percent in the elderly and in health and social health personnel. Given this circumstance, the possibility of vaccinating health workers at the same moment of Covid-19 and flu is opened, thus increasing coverage. A strategy that vaccinologists support and that generates posture differences among healthcare professionals.
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In this scenario, Fernando Moraga-Llop, vice president of the Spanish Vaccination Association (AEV) argues that if a third Covid booster dose is recommended for these groups and is co-administered with the flu it would be a “good vaccination strategy”.
“Although now in Spain it is recommended to leave an interval of one week after the Covid vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a few days ago said that the vaccines could be co-administered coronavirus with other injections, without leaving a week as recommended here ”, explains the vaccinologist.
For his part, Ángel Hernández Merino, member of the Vaccine Advisory Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, explains that although at this time there is a “recommendation” not to make the Covid vaccine coincide with others, it will “act again as we have done traditionally ”.
“All the inactivated vaccines can be administered simultaneously. Some studies are underway that seek to clarify whether there is any interference between the immunogenicity between one and the other, but we do not expect that there will be surprises in these investigations “, argues Hernández.
Regarding the vaccines that are needed for this “co-administration”, Moraga-Llop suggests that the quadrivalent vaccine be applied for influenza, while for Covid the one that “corresponds to the current vaccination strategy in Spain.” Hernández, meanwhile, indicates that he believes that it could be co-administered with Pfizer and Moderna, but states that it is an issue that he has not yet handled with “precision.”
Nursing, in favor of a coordinated strategy
Nursing does contemplate this simultaneous vaccination, as long as a coordinated strategy is previously implemented in all the Autonomous Communities to inform and sensitize all health professionals.
In this regard, the Nursing Union (Satse) understands that, as flu vaccination is a personal act of a voluntary nature, a strategy has to be drawn up in which the current circumstances derived from the Covid pandemic -19 are not those of previous years, in order to achieve a higher percentage of vaccination in the health field. Precisely, the Public Health Commission has addressed this issue due to the synergistic effect observed between the influenza virus and SARS CoV-2, which multiplies the risk of death in case of coinfection by two.
For this reason, Satse emphasizes that there must be, for this, an agreement within the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (SNS) that commits all health services, since the active and coordinated involvement of all health services is required. public administrations.
The group has also ruled on the possibility of vaccinating health professionals on the same day for influenza and Covid. In this sense, the union understands that this decision corresponds to the different health administrations, once the studies and scientific criteria in this regard have been evaluated and the best way to proceed has been adopted by consensus.
Doctors hope that the two campaigns do not overlap
Although they recognize that there is still some uncertainty regarding revaccination, doctors hope that, in the event that this ‘double’ vaccination finally occurs, the two campaigns will not overlap. “It is most likely that Covid will have to be vaccinated again but we do not know when, in what way or in what period of time,” explains Manuela García as second vice president of the Collegiate Medical Organization (WTO).
The group is aware of the problems that the flu virus can cause, with respiratory symptoms, so, like last year, it is “very important to have the population vaccinated”, especially those who are at risk. “Obviously it can be an overload” for the system if it coincides with the booster doses, García warns, calm, however, recognizing that Spain has “a wide culture in vaccination” as the campaign is repeated every year.
“Let’s hope they do not overlap and if they overlap in part, they can be coordinated,” says the doctor, who fully trusts the organizational capacity of the SNS. Valuing the role of Primary Care throughout the pandemic, and especially in the area of vaccination, García has “no doubt” that he will be able to assume a revaccination in a later scenario.
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