Combined influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations to begin at the end of September

The combined vaccination campaign against influenza and Covid-19 will start in the last week of September, targeting certain target groups such as people over 60 years of age, high-risk groups, pregnant women and health and social hygiene staff.

This was decided at a meeting of the Public Health Commission, which also endorsed the recommendation to vaccinate high-risk infants (premature infants under 35 weeks) against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which causes bronchiolitis. Have Down syndrome or receive palliative care etc – and babies under 6 months.

In this case, the Ministry of Health and the general director of public health of the communities maintained the same criteria they had set in July, when they took into account “the uncertainty of the supply of the drug in Spain”, which had to be from patients under 24 months of age. Starting in children who are at high risk for serious illness.

It will then be passed on to children under 6 months old at the start of or during the RSV season, that is, children born between April 1 of this year and March 31 of next year.

Those born during this season must be prioritized as they “should receive nirsevimab very early, preferably within the first 24-48 hours of life” as the disease is more common in the first days of life serious.

Those born earlier, starting in April, “will be vaccinated as soon as possible”, with most people ideally having been vaccinated by October.

Regarding influenza and COVID-19 vaccines, this will be the third time that both vaccines are administered simultaneously, coinciding with a slight increase in SarS-CoV-2 for several weeks, which has now stabilized: the rate is approximately 130 cases per 100,000 inhabitants Primary care, 3 cases required hospitalization.

A fifth covid-19 dose is recommended for persons over 60 years of age; persons over 5 years of age living in residential and disability centers or long-term institutions and residents of closed institutions; persons under 60 years of age with diabetes, People with high-risk medical conditions such as cancer and kidney disease, pregnant women in any trimester of pregnancy, postpartum women, and cohabitants of people who are immunosuppressed.

Also applies to staff in public and private health and social hygiene centers (with the exception of students for whom influenza vaccination is only recommended) and staff in essential public services.

As a novelty in the recommendations approved in July, staff from health facilities such as pharmacies are also included.

The vaccines they will receive starting from the last week of September and October, “best” according to the organization of each community are those adapted to the new variants; in Europe, only Pfizer’s (named Comirnaty Ómicron XBB.1.5) has It has the support of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Commission.

There are other drug candidates: Moderna and Novavax, which were authorized in the US yesterday, unlike the first two, are not messenger RNA.

In addition to the above groups, influenza testing is also recommended for people between 5 and 59 years of age who are at higher risk of complications (people between 5 and 18 years of age receiving long-term treatment with acetylsalicylic acid and smokers), students interning in the following countries : Bringing together health and social hygiene workers and persons with direct occupational contact with poultry, pig or mink farms or animals or their secretions from farms or wild animals.

It is also available for children aged 6 to 59 months, so this season’s children’s calendar has been expanded with the pediatric influenza and RSV monoclonal antibody nirsevimab.

On the other hand, the health department reported that the Coordination Center for Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES) was monitoring public health alerts this summer, specifically the botulism outbreak, with 13 cases recorded in June and July. .

In addition, surveillance for vector-borne diseases has been intensified – a total of five human cases of West Nile virus infection have been detected in Spain this year – and the usefulness of the mosquito alert platform has been demonstrated.

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