So far, more than 1.5 million people have contracted influenza and influenza-like illness in Poland in the 2021/2022 season, according to data from the National Institute of Hygiene. This number is increasing dynamically. If we also contract the coronavirus at the same time, the course of infection can be much more severe.
Between January and March, each year we see a peak of flu cases – there are even 100,000 new cases a week. Currently, more cases of Floron, that is, simultaneous infection with influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2, are diagnosed in Europe. Such a joint infection can lead to many serious consequences.
According to research based on data from the Optum De-Identified Covid-19 electronic health record database, influenza co-infection in people hospitalized with Covid-19 infection was associated with a significantly increased—approximately 10%—the rate of respiratory failure ( 56, 2% versus 46.6%).
Research shows there’s more to such a double infection Increases the likelihood of needing invasive mechanical ventilation (This surgery required up to 12.8% of people who underwent co-infection, while among those who were hospitalized with Covid-19 infection only, 9.8%), but most of all It increases the risk of being transferred to the intensive care unit (27.3% of those infected with COVID-19 and influenza). There can be many serious consequences of a double infection.
In the 2021/22 season alone, more than 4,600 people have been hospitalized so far with influenza. When analyzing epidemiological reports from previous years, a similar distribution of infections over the seasons can be observed. From September 1 to December 31, in the seasons 2020/2021, 2019/2020, 2018/2019 and 2017/2018, hospitalizations due to influenza were: 1,664, 4,001, 3,339 and 4,077 people over straight.
Although the number of hospitalizations and cases of influenza infection decreased in the last season, as a result, among other things, of restrictions imposed at that time, it can be seen that the statistics of the impact of influenza on society are now similar to those that existed before the pandemic. Such a scheme, in turn, leads to an unambiguous conclusion – Even if the number of hospitalizations is currently around 4,000, it could increase by up to 4 times by the end of the seasonAs happened in 2017-2020.
It can be said with certainty that influenza vaccination has never been so simple and easily available in our country. It takes really little effort from us – just leave the house and go get vaccinated. What is more, The flu vaccine can be combined with the Covid-19 vaccine.
It’s been six months since many age groups took the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, so many of us will be able to take the third dose in the coming days and weeks. It is worth taking this opportunity and ordering a flu vaccination at the same time (it is likely that we will be offered this option at the point of vaccination, but if the offer does not appear, then it is worth ordering a flu shot – we have the full right to it).
Vaccinations are also encouraged by experts, including Prof. Adam Antzak, Chair of the Scientific Council of the National Influenza Control Program: Flu and Covid-19 vaccinations can be received simultaneously, on the same day, You just need to vaccinate in two different places. It is completely safe and the two vaccinations are in no way contradictory.
This year, protecting yourself from the flu by vaccinating yourself is easier than it has been in previous years. From November 23, under the regulation on the method of influenza prevention in the 2021/2022 season signed by the Minister of Health, all persons over the age of 18 are entitled to free influenza vaccination. Most importantly, we don’t need a prescription or a referral – just two simple steps to get your flu shot:
1. Go to any vaccination point of your choice and make an appointment. There are more than 3,000 such points across the country, and their points The map is available at the link
2. Fill out a short declaration of fulfilling the eligibility condition for the free vaccination – We only confirm that we are 18 years of age or older and provide our first and last name and PESEL number and sign it. That’s it!
According to the information available on the site www.pzh.gov.pl, 6.03% of the population used the flu vaccine last season. However, it must be emphasized that there were a much smaller number available on the market at that time, only 2.3 million vaccines. This year, there are more than twice that number – in total, about 5 million influenza vaccines will reach our country! If all of them were used, the number of people vaccinated would reach double figures for the first time in history.
However, as experts note, there is still a lot to catch up, especially when it comes to vaccinating particularly vulnerable groups. The World Health Organization recommends 75% of people over the age of 65 get the flu vaccine. In Poland, this percentage is … 18.4%. For comparison, 68.2% of the elderly in Spain are vaccinated, and in Sweden about 60%.
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