Flu this season could reach the size of a serious epidemic, warn German experts. They recommend the simultaneous vaccination against influenza and COVID-19 and emphasize that these vaccines should not be separated, writes the daily “Tagesspiegel”. According to the head of the Institute, Robert Koch Lothar Wieler, “if we have a flu wave, it will be at the peak of the fourth wave of coronavirus.”
“This season could experience a particularly severe flu epidemic. Experts warn that influenza viruses may have become more aggressive (…) Vaccinations are recommended as every year. take this into account “- writes” Tagesspiegel “.
In these people, the flu can lead to severe and fatal complications. For this group, Germany now also offers a third COVID-19 vaccination as a booster vaccination, if they were fully vaccinated in spring.
Vaccination against COVID-19 and influenza
The Standing Committee on Vaccination (Stiko) has no objections to the simultaneous administration of COVID-19 and influenza vaccines. “The precautionary measure of separating the two vaccinations is no longer necessary,” Stiko boss Thomas Mertens told Tagesspiegel.
Mertens believes the flu vaccine is urgently needed, especially as there will likely be fewer coronavirus laws in place this winter, unlike last year.
Berlin-based vaccine researcher Leif Sander from the Charite clinic also believes that a strong flu wave is possible this winter. “That’s why it’s important to protect yourself against it as much as possible through vaccination,” he told Tagesspiegel. Sandler also believes that the combination of vaccines is “relatively unproblematic.”
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reports that the effectiveness of flu vaccines in the coming season is difficult to quantify, as the database on which the vaccine was developed is not as good as in previous years.
“If we have a flu wave, it will be at the peak of the fourth wave of coronavirus”
Last winter, RKI saw what was probably the weakest flu season in decades in Germany, with just a few hundred laboratory-confirmed cases – over 180,000 a year earlier. “There was no flu epidemic at all this season,” says RKI chief Lothar Wieler.
The reason for the absence of flu was due to pandemic restrictions in place in many places, such as minimum distances, masks, home office regulations and school closures. According to the head of the RKI, Wieler, it is not yet possible to assess whether, with the currently significantly reduced funds, there will be a strong wave of flu this year. In his opinion, “if we have a flu wave, it will be at the peak of the fourth wave of coronavirus.” Hospitals are already preparing for this scenario.
The Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) approved the first flu vaccines for fall and winter in early September. According to PEI, nine flu vaccines are available in Germany this year.
And “the US biotechnology company Novavax has just started early clinical trials on a combined vaccine against seasonal flu and COVID-19,” the daily reports.
Main photo source: concrete24