The European Union recommends that the rate of influenza vaccination in the population reach 75 percent. In the Czech Republic, according to the State Institute of Public Health (SZÚ), about 1,500 people die of the flu each year. According to the Czech Television, about eight percent of people get vaccinated against the flu, and about a fifth in risk groups.
Experts warn that patients with severe flu and severe covid-19 need the same beds with oxygen or lung ventilators in hospitals. Therefore, they may be deficient in the co-occurrence of a possible second wave of coronavirus pandemics and seasonal influenza. In addition, people with the flu will be weakened and may be at greater risk for coronavirus infection. The state therefore wants to support vaccination in the next flu season.
Prymula said that it is not possible to achieve an ideal vaccination of the population against influenza, which is 75 percent, year-on-year. “It is practically impossible year-on-year, we were guaranteed some 800,000 doses, and after negotiations there will be an increase of another ten percent. So if everything hypothetically went as it should, we could get vaccinated by nine percent,” he said. According to him, production capacity is limited and other countries are also interested in influenza vaccines.
According to Prymula, moreover, there is an unfortunate system in the Czech Republic where general practitioners have to pre-order vaccines, then vaccinate patients who are interested. “And they are logically worried that if people don’t get vaccinated, they will have vaccines left and no one will pay for them,” Prymula said. “We will be happy for nine percent, because it will be the highest number in history,” he added.
According to epidemiologist Jiří Beran, the main responsibility lies with general practitioners, who should persuade their patients to be vaccinated. He noted that the flu is a serious disease, and although vaccination may not prevent the flu as such, it alleviates the severity of the disease and reduces the likelihood of death. He also reminded that seniors over the age of 65 have free flu shots.
Researchers are currently developing a vaccine against a new type of coronavirus. Of the 140 vaccines worldwide, 16 are already being tested in humans. Once the vaccine has been developed, according to Prymul, it is not necessary to immediately vaccinate as many as 75 percent of people in order to protect the rest of the population, which cannot be vaccinated, thanks to collective immunity. According to him, the basis is that risk groups should be vaccinated quickly, ie up to three million people in the Czech Republic.
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