The Director General of Public Health, José Juan Alemán and the head of the Epidemiology and Prevention Section, Amós García, have presented this morning in Santa Cruz of Tenerife the influenza vaccination campaign that will begin next Monday, October 29, in all the health centers of the archipelago.
José Juan Alemán He recalled that vaccination against influenza is an important measure of public health because it decreases the incidence of this disease and its duration, as well as the impact that, every year, has on the population.
The vaccination, said the director, could reduce between 75-80% of deaths that occur as a result of this disease, which are around 2,000 direct annual deaths in Spain, although this range varies in global data of 1,400 up to 4,000 deaths that are associated with comorbidity factors.
Alemán has indicated that in the last season 2017-2018 more than 1,000 hospitalizations related to influenza occurred in the Canary Islands, of which 302 were serious cases, 97 required admission to the ICU and 37 died, including a newborn.
The director of Public Health has insisted during his speech that antibiotics are not effective against influenza, being a viral disease. The use of antibiotics without the corresponding medical prescription favors the appearance of bacterial resistance to these drugs, Alemán concluded.
Make an appointment for vaccination
People who belong to a risk group can request an appointment to be vaccinated by calling the Citizen Information Service at 012, 922239301 and 928219030.
This campaign will use two vaccines, a quadrivalent vaccine aimed at all people under 65 years of age included in the risk groups, and another trivalent vaccine aimed at people aged 65 or older and an institutionalized elderly population with a higher risk of complications. associated
The protective immune response after vaccination is variable and, overall, it ranges between 70 and 90% of those vaccinated. In addition, it is characterized by its safety, low cost and accessibility.
In relation to the date chosen this year for the start of vaccination, next October 29, the agreement of the Public Health Commission of the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System is followed, in which it was established to start the campaign from of the third week of the month of October.
It is considered that it is the period that guarantees an adequate supply of vaccine, optimizes the effectiveness of the campaign and allows adapting both to the epidemiological pattern of presentation of the infection and to the peculiarities of the health organization in each geographical area.
Investment in flu vaccine in 2018
The Ministry of Health, through the Directorate General of Public Health, has purchased for the campaign this year a total of 222,000 doses of influenza vaccine, for an amount of 1,117,860 euros:
147,200 doses of adjuvanted trivalent vaccine for an amount of 690,360 euros, unit price per dose 4.69 euros.
75,000 doses of tetravalent vaccine for an amount of 427,500 euros, with a unit price of 5.70 euros per dose.
Balance of the 2017-2018 campaign
In the 2017-2018 season, 203,950 vaccines were administered to the risk groups formed by people over 60 years of age, health personnel and pregnant women, to which we must add about 10,000 more doses corresponding to other risk groups. There was a 4% increase in the vaccines administered in that 2017-2018 season compared to the previous one.
The incidence of influenza in the 2017-2018 season was similar to that of the previous season in terms of rates per 100,000 inhabitants, and more vaccines were administered, especially in the group over 65 and in pregnant women. The epidemic threshold of 115.65 cases per 10,000 population was exceeded in the second week of January 2018, and the epidemic peak was reached in the third week of that same month with a rate of 231.08 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
We are currently in a pre-epidemic situation with a rate of 11.87 cases in the last epidemiological surveillance report.
The flu and its transmission
The flu is one of the infectious diseases of respiratory transmission and of acute presentation, of greater incidence in the Canary Islands. The extreme contagiousness of the influenza virus means that each winter there is a seasonal epidemic wave, which has important implications in certain population groups such as the elderly, chronic diseases, and others, in which this process frequently has serious complications.
Also, every year there is an increase in the demand for health services (which are often overwhelmed), as well as an increase in absenteeism at work and school, of great social and economic importance. Its importance derives from its high capacity for propagation and the severity of its complications, associated with an excess of general mortality.
The most frequent mode of transmission of influenza is the airway between people agglomerated in closed spaces. It can be transmitted through Flügge droplets since the influenza virus can persist for hours, especially in cold environments with low humidity, and is also transmitted through direct contact with hands contaminated with viruses when coughing and sneezing.
It is important to maintain the hygiene of the hands and the environment, cleaning well all the surfaces that we touch with our hands such as tables, countertops, doorknobs and windows.
Covering the mouth when coughing and sneezing, preferably in disposable tissues that should not be reused, is another hygienic measure that decreases the transmission of the disease.
The incubation period of influenza is short, usually between 1-5 days and the infection confers immunity against the specific infecting virus.
The flu and its prevention
The prevention of influenza is based mainly on vaccination, which aims to reduce the mortality and morbidity associated with influenza and the impact of the disease in the community.
Therefore, it is primarily aimed at protecting people who have a higher risk of developing complications in case of having the flu, to those who can transmit the disease to others who have a high risk of complications and those who, due to their occupation, provide essential services in the community.