Amós García: “The behavior of the flu this year is quite unpredictable as the covid is not so predominant”


Regarding the start of the flu vaccination campaign, which will take place in the next few days, the President of the Spanish Association of Vaccination and Head of Epidemiology of the Canary Islands Health Service, Amos Garcia, has warned that “the behavior of the flu this year is quite unpredictable.”

The expert, who has referred to the incidence of influenza in Spain last year was anecdotal due to the measures adopted to deal with the Covid-19, has announced that this season the situation will be different from other years.

In addition to the use of a mask, physical distance and hand washing and the extensive flu vaccination coverage last year, as explained by the expert in statements to Europa Press, the element that most characterized the fact that there was little flu in 2020 was “the own presence of Covid-19“.

“Normally, when there is such an abundant respiratory virus, as in the case of SARS-CoV-2, it becomes so predominant that the rest of the respiratory viruses hardly appear – he explains -. This year it happens that the containment measures for Covid-19, we do not know what the flu vaccination coverage will be like and, in addition, SARS-CoV-2 will not be as prevalent, which may mean that the free gap left by SARS-CoV -2 take advantage of the flu virus “, the expert has announced, emphasizing the unpredictability of this virus this season.

“However, it is true that in the southern hemisphere, which is where we usually look to see if the behavior can be similar to that of our hemisphere, there has also been very little flu this season,” Garcia reassured.

FLU VACCINATION CAMPAIGN IN 2021

Regarding this year’s flu vaccination campaign, the recently appointed Spanish representative of the Standing Committee of the World Health Organization for Europe He has confessed that he expects last year’s results to be repeated.

“The coverage of the population over 65 years of age increased by approximately 10 percent, although we would have liked it to have been more, that we had reached 75 percent; but, in any case, it represented a notable increase, and that always it must be emphasized “, has detailed García. All in all, acknowledge that “The situation that unleashed last year that illusion of so many sectors of the citizenry to get vaccinated may not be the same this year”.

Thus, one of the singularities that characterize this vaccination campaign is that it is carried out in conjunction with the booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in the population at risk. In this regard, the president of the Spanish Association of Vaccination has recalled that this strategy does not affect the immune response or the safety of the vaccine. “They can be put perfectly, each one in each arm, in the same vaccination act,” he recalls.

“This possibility has a clear objective, of a logistical nature, since it is easier to reduce vaccination processes; that is, in a single visit, you get vaccinated with two products, and that avoids having to return on another occasion, which is more uncomfortable for citizens and for health workers “. However, he recalled that this depends on the organization of each territory.

SITUATION OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Asked about the current situation of the pandemic, the expert has expressed that the vaccine coverage of Covid-19 has been decreasing the progress of the pandemic. “There is a clear correlation between vaccination and the current situation, which is really good”, has specified.

“This does not indicate that we are at the end of the problem, but it does indicate that we are seeing the end closer. There is still a way to go, because there are still people to be vaccinated, but progress is being made in a very positive way”, has reiterated.

In this sense, he has opined that “it cannot be said that there will not be a sixth wave”, although it will not be as serious as the previous ones. “We are going to continue seeing cases, cases that possibly have their origin in poorly ventilated closed spaces, but I have doubts that they occur in such an explosive way as to be able to generate a new wave,” García said.

“If that wave were to occur, which I have nothing clear about, the impact of it would be otherwise, because fortunately the serious cases that have configured a dramatic situation, such as hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths, are already much softened by vaccination “, he stated.

On the other hand, the expert has expressed his rejection of the extension of the third dose to the general population. “At the moment I do not see it”, has settled. “I see it clearly in immunosuppressed patients, where it would not be a third dose, but an additional dose, and I see it clearly in older people, because, when you get older, the immune system also ages, but I don’t see it for other people” , has explained the president of the Spanish Association of Vaccination.

“In addition, there is no solid scientific evidence that indicates that it will improve the quality of the protective response in these population sectors with respect to the full regimen vaccine,” he pointed out, adding that “we must not forget” that it is a pandemic, “and developing countries have to have vaccines.”

“There are countries that are crying out for the first dose to give it to those who do not have any”, has sentenced, appealing to the lack of ethics that involves inoculating third doses in the general population if there is no scientific eviction, when there are countries that have not yet injected the first dose.

“It is not only a question of justice and equity, it is also a question of epidemiological interest. If there are countries without vaccinating their citizens, cases will continue to occur there and this will translate into the appearance of new variants that we they would end up affecting everyone “, it is finished.

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