The flu vaccine is an effective prevention method against seasonal ailments. But when should it be done? Here is all the useful information!
With the arrival of the cold season, we are preparing to face the classic period of seasonal flu and ailments . The flu vaccine was designed to address this situation and avoid an overload of the national health system, as well as protecting the most vulnerable , whose health would be seriously endangered even by a simple flu.
Never as in this year, however, the need for a flu vaccine becomes urgent. The coronavirus pandemic, which broke out in February 2020, made it essential to intensify the prevention plan to prevent seasonal influences from overlapping a possible second wave of Covid-19.
The free vaccine for at-risk categories
The flu vaccine is recommended and given free of charge to subjects considered at risk, that is, who belong to one of the following categories:
– Subjects from 6 months to 65 years of age suffering from diseases that increase the risk of complications from influenza, including chronic diseases, tumors undergoing chemotherapy and metabolic diseases.
– Women who have been pregnant and postpartum since the beginning of the epidemic.
– All subjects, even if healthy, aged 65 or over.
– Subjects involved in public services of primary collective interest.
– Blood donors and family members and close contacts of persons at high risk of complications.
The cost of the flu shot
Those who do not fall into the risk categories can still decide to undergo flu prophylaxis. In these cases you can buy the vaccine at the pharmacy and have it administered by the doctor. On average, the cost is around 25 euros .
Contraindications and side effects of the flu vaccine
The flu vaccine is safe because it undergoes a series of strict controls before its release. However, some local reactions may occur following the injection, such as redness or swelling, headache, joint or muscle pain.
It is obviously to be avoided in case of subjects allergic to some components of the vaccine or who have experienced allergic reactions during previous administration.
Furthermore, in subjects presenting with a temporary acute illness , of medium or serious entity, the administration of the vaccine is to be postponed after recovery.
Influenza vaccine for children: yes or no?
As anticipated, the vaccine is not administered to children under six months , due to the lack of established clinical studies that certify its safety in these age groups.
As for older children , doctors agree that the vaccine is not very effective in pediatric age. However, the case of children at risk is different, that is, more exposed to complications because they are carriers of more serious diseases.
In the case of children, however, it is good to consider that seasonal ailments and colds can be very frequent in the autumn period, it is therefore good not to get caught up in easy alarmisms and to clarify to avoid confusing episodes of flu with the coronavirus .
Influenza vaccine 2020 and coronavirus
After a quieter summer, the situation has unfortunately seen a considerable increase in infections . In fact, from July to September 2020, the ratio between positives and tested cases went from 0.8 to 2.8, although with rather consistent regional differences (ranging from 1.1 in Basilicata to 6.5 in Liguria).
Although approximately 93% of those tested are asymptomatic, it is more than ever essential to play in advance and guarantee vaccination coverage to all categories at risk, also safeguarding the health system.
When is the flu vaccine available in 2020?
Normally the best time to vaccinate is mid- November , because the peaks of the flu are generally recorded between December and February. The current year could however see an anticipation of prophylaxis due to the dangers associated with the pandemic.
Giovanni Rezza , head of the Directorate General for Prevention of the Ministry of Health, spoke of a possible advance at the end of September, beginning of October. The date may also vary from region to region due to their ability to complete stock replenishment in good time.
Will it be available to everyone?
Due to the increased need for vaccine administration, the Ministry of Health, in agreement with the Regions, is trying to purchase 13-14 million doses of vaccine, in order to meet the demand of those who they are entitled free of charge and also for those who would like to buy it at their own expense.