Corona crisis: should there be the flu vaccination for everyone?

The Flu season is just around the corner, as every year. And as every year, medical experts stress the importance of immunization against the Influenza virus. What often went unheard in the past, however, is getting a lot of attention this fall. Because the flu virus is joined this fall by a new virus: Sars-CoV-2.

Corona and flu, this could be an ominous encounter. Both for the health care system and for the health of the individual. Alone, if every adult German were to be immunized against seasonal influenza, the available Vaccine doses insufficient. So what to do? Who should really get vaccinated? Answers to the most important questions.

Because of Corona pandemic flu vaccination is especially important

In fact, the flu shot is not only recommended to certain groups of people this year. Experts have long criticized the fact that many people do not receive this Recommendation not take seriously enough. For example, in the 2016/2017 influenza season, only just under 35 percent of people from 60 years vaccinate. A vaccination rate of 75 percent is recommended for older people in order to achieve a Herd immunity to reach.

This year, however, influenza vaccination has a special role to play. Because it plays an important role in the Corona pandemic. While it does not protect against infection with the Coronavirus. But it could help relieve prere on health care system if few people contract seasonal influenza.

RKI gives vaccination recommendations

The Standing Commission on Vaccination Stiko, which was established on RKI has drawn up recommendations on who should be vaccinated against the flu because of the risk of severe influenza. These are, for example, people aged 60 and over, expectant Mothers from the 14. week of pregnancy, people with certain chronic Diseases such as diabetes, heart or circulatory diseases or multiple sclerosis.

In addition, the Stiko recommends immunization of residents of Nursing homes and people who are at increased occupational risk, such as medical personnel.

The commission has not changed these recommendations even in light of the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement ied in early August, it said, "As the epidemiology of both diseases shows very clear parallels in terms of risk groups for severe disease progression, the Stiko is convinced that for the upcoming 2020/21 influenza season, a high vaccination rate in the Risk groups must be achieved in order to relieve the burden on the health care system in addition to individual protection."

On the one hand, this will reduce the background noise from additional flu patients in this pandemic. And, "If we vaccinate the younger ones, we also protect the older ones because they don't pass on the flu viruses to."Salzberger, unlike the Stiko, also recommends flu vaccination for older children and young adults. "By the way, not only this year, but in principle."

Corona crisis: should there be the flu vaccination for everyone?

Enough vaccine for all is not yet available

According to the for vaccines responsible Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), 20 million vaccine doses are available this year. At the end of September, the Federal Ministry of Health to order additional six million doses.

Although this is significantly more vaccine doses than were needed in previous years, according to Stiko, 40 million doses are needed just to implement the existing recommendations. It fears with an extension of the vaccination recommendations to the entire Population a Undersupply Of the at-risk groups.

Background: The five biggest concerns about vaccination – are they justified?

However, these figures would presuppose that really everyone is vaccinated against the Flu would like to be vaccinated. That is in the Reality Not the case, according to a representative Forsa-Survey of the Federal Association of German Pharmacists from August may believe. According to the report, 45 percent of high-risk patients do not plan to get a flu shot this year. Among all adult German citizens, only 38 percent want to be immunized, according to the survey.

"Nobody knows how many people will get vaccinated this season," says infectiologist Salzberger, who therefore recommends that people in at-risk groups start early with their Physician Talking about getting vaccinated.

"If there are currently here and there Supply bottlenecks comes, I advise to check again in a few weeks at the doctor or in the Pharmacy to inquire," says Ursula Sellerberg, deputy spokeswoman for the Federal Chamber of Pharmacists. Vaccination in the course of the next few weeks would also build up vaccination protection in time.

Vaccination: these health insurers cover the costs

Many, but by no means all Health insurers ame the cost of flu vaccination for all their insured patients. The major health insurers TK, AOK, DAK and Barmer, for example, cover the costs. Some others only pay for insureds who fall under the Stiko recommendations. Even some Employers offer their employees free immunization.

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