It is impossible to distinguish influenza from COVID-19 without performing laboratory tests, note the participants of the Flu & COVID-19 Forum. Co-infection may carry the risk of a very severe course of infection or death, so experts call for vaccination against influenza and COVID-19 during one visit.
During the Flu & COVID-19 Forum on Thursday, doctors, nurses and pharmacists emphasized the danger of influenza and COVID-19 simultaneously, as the incidence of both diseases is increasing. Experts debated, inter alia, about the impact of the pandemic on the increase in social awareness of infection and prevention.
“We call for special mobilization for vaccination against influenza, but also against COVID-19. These are two serious infectious diseases, the incidence of which increases in the fall and winter season” – the experts wrote in a statement.
“Both of them pose a serious threat to the entire society, in particular to people at risk. Co-infection may be associated with the risk of a very severe course of infection or death. Protective vaccinations may reduce both the frequency of infections and the severity of their course in both diseases” – the experts wrote in a statement.
Experts urge flu and COVID-19 vaccinations
– Thinking about vaccinations, as well as practice, has become mass pandemic thanks to the pandemic. Progress has also been made in the case of flu vaccinations. We managed to expand the groups for which vaccinations are free – for example, pregnant women and seniors 75+. Since this year, flu vaccination is registered, as is vaccination against COVID-19 – enumerated prof. Adam Antczak, chairman of the Scientific Council of the National Program for Combating Influenza. At the same time, he emphasized that the guidelines for registering patients vaccinated against influenza are a great progress, as it will allow to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis.
The expert emphasized that it is impossible to distinguish influenza from COVID-19 without laboratory tests, so preventive action in the form of vaccination is very important. – Further expansion of access to vaccination is needed, especially for children. We would expect faster and more decisive action from parliament. It is about the possibility of qualifying for vaccinations by nurses – said prof. Antczak.
Experts also raised the topic of the use of pharmacists who already vaccinate patients in pharmacies. During the pandemic, 776 pharmacists vaccinate against COVID-19 in 443 pharmacies. A total of 70,000 were given in these places. vaccinations. – There is no substantive reason not to vaccinate against influenza in pharmacies, as we do in the case of vaccination for COVID-19 – said Prof. Antczak.
A year ago, the flu vaccination was adopted by 6 percent. Polish population. This is a jump of 43 percent. compared to the previous year, but according to experts, this does not mean that the society has greater resilience, because 6 percent. is a statistically insignificant value.
COVID-19 and the flu are two different diseases
– We don’t know when to expect the next flu peak. Her activity surprises us. The predictability of disease has changed, because we have taken a number of actions to change our behavior: remote work, closed schools, social distance, all this has changed – said Dr. Ernest Kuchar, president of the Polish Society of Vaccinology. He added: – Before the pandemic, the flu attacked in the first three months of the new year – from January to March. And this year, since August, we have cases of influenza and other viruses that cause respiratory infections.
Experts recommend flu and COVID-19 vaccinations during a single medical visit. – Despite new technologies, we treat both vaccines – against COVID-19 and against influenza as “killed” because they do not reproduce. Therefore, there is no need to maintain a time distance between the administration of both, and so they can be administered during one visit. Such recommendations were issued in many countries, argued Kuchar.
The expert also emphasized that despite similar symptoms, COVID-19 and the flu are two different diseases. – No disease makes you stronger. Someone weakened by the flu is likely to have a harder time suffering from COVID-19 and vice versa. Scientific data confirm that it is worth vaccinating against both COVID-19 and flu, because they are two different diseases. It’s like measles and rubella, they may look similar, but from an immunological point of view, they are two different risks, Kuchar said.
Main photo source: Leszek Szymański / PAP