Catalonia recommends smokers get flu vaccine for first time | Catalonia | Spain

In this file image, a person gets a flu vaccine in Barcelona.Massimiliano Minocli(EL PAÍS)

Catalonia will start flu vaccinations for smokers. The Ministry of Health briefed health professionals on its influenza and COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Tuesday and declared this group a priority. Montse Martínez, head of the Preventive Medicine Service at the Ministry of Health, argued that “smokers are also included because of the greater risk of complications from influenza.” As announced a few months ago, in This new season, Generalitat also includes all children from six months to five years old.Both groups are included in the latest update Spain 2023-2024 Seasonal Influenza and COVID-19 Vaccination Recommendations Ministry of Health. The Valencian regional government also informed health workers of the development on Monday. provinces.

“Anyone identified as a smoker will be able to receive the vaccine, although it will not appear in the information system,” Martinez announced during a digital meeting on Tuesday attended by more than 2,000 people. According to the latest figures from Indescat, one in four people in the community is a smoker, which is why the department is increasing the doses available. Salud has purchased 1.7 million doses of vaccine, an increase of more than 110,000 doses compared to the previous season. Public Health Minister Carmen Cabezas insisted: “It is very important to protect all those who fall into the recommended groups.”

The vaccination campaign will start on September 26 in residential areas of Catalonia, with a focus on influenza and coronavirus. The department will start with the most vulnerable groups (residential etc.) before addressing health and priority personnel. Starting on October 16, the remaining groups will be vaccinated. Health authorities advise people over 60, users with chronic health conditions, pregnant women and immunosuppressed patients to take precautions against COVID-19 and influenza. The vaccination campaign is expected to end in March 2024.

Regarding the campaign against influenza, the department will focus on the population between six months and five years old. Previously, only minors with chronic illnesses were protected. In response to COVID-19, the Ministry of Health intends to vaccinate key groups “regardless of the number of previous doses received.” This season, the minimum interval between a new dose and the last infection increased from five months to three months.

“Ninety-eight percent of the population already has some type of protection,” Cabezas explained. “That doesn’t mean we don’t need to vaccinate because with new variants, you can get away with it; but we don’t expect extremely severe cases. Now they are a destabilizing factor from the previous situation, although it could also lead to direct pneumonia.”

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