Such coverage of flu vaccinations was achieved in Spain this year

flu hit hard in the 2023-2024 season, increase in hospitalization compared to previous yearswhich correlates with the fact that influenza vaccination coverage in Spain has registered its lowest level in the last 4 years.

According to the latest data published Gripometer 2023-2024Flu vaccination coverage among people over 65, who are most vulnerable to the virus, ends this season at 64.4%, down almost 3 points from the previous year (67.3%).

A multifactorial situation that experts say can be explained slightly lower risk perception among the population due to atypical virus circulation in post-pandemic winters, possible weakening of influenza vaccination recommendations, and possible vaccine fatigue once the global COVID 19 health concern normalizes.

For Professor Raul Ortiz de Lejarazu Leonardohonorary director and scientific consultant National Influenza Center of Valladolid (GISRS/WHO-WHO)It is important “to convey that the influenza vaccine is not intended to prevent mild or moderate cases that can be treated at home, but rather, its administration is intended to prevent severe cases that could lead to hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, or mechanical ventilation ” or even death.”

Also, the professor notes, “it is necessary to take into account the paradigm of vaccines, which do not guarantee 100% effectiveness, therefore “It’s even more important to expand vaccination to as many people as possible.”

That is, “the larger the proportion of the population that receives the vaccine, the more difficult it will be for the virus to cause serious or fatal cases in the community as a whole, and the hospital burden due to influenza will be lower, avoiding medical attention.” consequences in the form of other urgent pathologies.”

Vaccination data by age group

1. Population over 65 years of age.

In this age group, the most vulnerable, in most autonomous entities there is a significant decrease in the vaccination rate – from 1.1% to 8%. The communities with the highest vaccination coverage were Navarre (75.3%) and La Rojoa (74.9%). and least of all the Canary Islands (50.1%) and the Balearic Islands (52.3%).

“This group requires greater vaccination coverage because it is the most vulnerable and includes a high percentage of people with comorbidities (cardiovascular, pulmonary, hypertension, diabetes, etc.). This results in serious cases that require the use of critical health services such as emergency departments, hospitals and intensive care units, which significantly overburden the health care system as they usually result in long hospital stays,” explains Professor Ortiz.

2. Population over 60 years of age.

Influenza vaccination recommendations extend to populations over 60 years of age in all communities, recognizing this age segment as a high-risk population. However, coverage of this group of individuals decreased by 2.5% compared to the previous year, closing at 34.7%. “The decline in vaccination rates in this population foreshadows future trends for the over-65 group and should be corrected as soon as possible,” the professor says.

3. Children’s population from 6 months to 5 years.

This season marks the first time that flu vaccination is available in all localities for children from 6 months to 5 years. Galicia, Murcia and Andalusia They were pioneers in offering vaccination to this group in the previous campaign (2022/23) and have also achieved better results this season, surpassing their own figures achieved in the 2022/23 season.

childhood flu vaccine not only directly protects children by preventing pediatric hospitalization, but also plays a fundamental role in stop the spread of the virus in other population groups. Therefore, coverage rates are expected to improve as the spin-off benefits of childhood vaccination are better understood,” the professor concludes.

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