More than two million flu vaccines begin to be administered

The flu vaccination starts this Monday in Portugal, earlier than usual due to the covid-19 pandemic, with 2.24 million vaccines to be distributed free of charge to groups at risk by the National Health Service.

This Monday starts the first phase of free vaccination aimed at residents, users and professionals of social response establishments, patients and professionals of the integrated continuous care network and professionals of the National Health Service (SNS) and also pregnant women, according to the General Directorate of Health (DGS).

In the second phase, the other target groups covered by free vaccination will be integrated, highlighting people aged 65 years and over and people with diseases or other conditions provided for in the 2021/22 influenza vaccination policy.

For this flu season (2021/2022), there will be 2.24 million doses of vaccines against the flu, more about 146,000 doses compared to the flu season 2020/2021, which represents an increase of 7%, according to the DGS.

Similar to what has happened in recent years, the vaccines available in Portugal will be tetravalent, including four types of influenza virus: two type A and two type B.

As health authorities decided to bring forward the start of the vaccination campaign, which usually starts in October, due to the pandemic situation.

“In 2021, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, exceptional and specific measures are maintained in the context of free flu vaccination, including earlier initiation, phased vaccination and free of charge for professionals working in contexts with greater risk occurrence of outbreaks and/or greater susceptibility and vulnerability”, says the DGS in a statement.

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On Friday, the task force that coordinates vaccination against Covid-19 said in a statement that the centers where anti-covid vaccines are administered would “soon” be committed to flu vaccination.

Lusa asked the “task force” for more information about this process of administering the flu vaccine in these centers, but no further information was made available.

The Directorate-General for Health calls for people to join that have criteria for vaccination against the flu, in a process that will be carried out in an organized manner, taking place in the coming months.

DGS recalls that flu is usually cured spontaneously, but complications can occur, particularly in people with chronic illnesses or those aged 65 and over.

Influenza vaccine is strongly recommended for priority population groups and is a primary prevention measure with an impact on the occurrence and severity of the disease.

In Portugal, the vaccine is free for citizens over 65 years of age, for residents and institutionalized patients, but also for a group of people with specific illnesses, NHS health professionals and firefighters.

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