October 21, 2020

Pediatricians warn of the importance of vaccinating risk groups against influenza to avoid simultaneous infection with COVID


The Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) through its Vaccine Advisory Committee (CAV-AEP), has updated its Flu vaccination recommendations for this year. As a novelty, they recommend “the vaccination of children with respiratory or neurological sequelae by COVID-19, a circumstance that was not present before, and which also extends to sequelae from other infections or diseases,” says Dr. Francisco Álvarez, CAV coordinator -AEP.

The flu vaccination campaign will define the epidemiological situation of a winter in the middle of the second wave of COVID-19

The flu vaccination campaign will define the epidemiological situation of a winter in the middle of the second wave of COVID-19

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A recommendation that is added to that related to the vaccine in risk groups, that is, children from 6 months of age and adolescents with diseases that pose an increased risk of suffering complications from the flu, and extends the indication to those who live with children under 6 months, and those over 6 months who live with patients at risk , pregnant women and all health professionals, ”explains Álvarez.

“We consider that vaccination is the most effective preventive measure to avoid contracting the flu, a measure whose safety and effectiveness are amply supported by numerous studies and with which we are convinced that a large number of cases will be avoided and therefore the complications that arise. may derive from this disease “, says María José Mellado, president of the AEP. “In addition, in an autumn that is expected to be marked by COVID-19, we consider that the recommendations we have drawn up this year are more relevant than ever: the objective is to avoid co-infection by both viruses”, Add.

In relation to SARS-CoV-2, the AEP warned in June that the pandemic has not had a significant incidence in children to date, but they affirm that it is unknown what effects the new condition may have if it coincides in time with the flu , which could generate an increase in respiratory and feverish symptoms in children and adolescents, making the management of these patients difficult and with the consequent overload that it could imply for the health system.

The Ministry of Health has announced that the vaccination campaign will begin this year in the first half of October, but could be advanced for institutionalized elderly people and health and social health professionals.

In the opinion of the CAV-AEP coordinator “influenza vaccination of children older than six months not included in risk groups is a recommended measure since it provides the child with individual protection and favors family and community protection.” A recommendation, already proposed by the WHO and the ECDC, which should be a short- or medium-term objective for health authorities according to the CAV-AEP, although, in the current scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic, “it is understood that Said extended vaccination recommendation corresponds to the health authorities and must be established considering the availability of doses, among other aspects, so this year the vaccination of the elderly and risk groups is prioritized ”, the expert clarifies.

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