The first flu jabs will be given at the same time as the fourth Covid vaccine. / sur

Bad flu season coming up, Spanish public health experts warn

The influenza virus which has been so virulent in Australia is expected to reach Spain in the next few months

Ángel Escalera
ÁNGEL ESCALERA Malaga

This is going to be a bad winter in terms of flu and upper respiratory illnesses in Andalucía, public health experts are warning, after monitoring how influenza viruses have been behaving in the southern hemisphere so far. They are concerned that Australia has experienced a flu epidemic which was similar to those before the coronavirus pandemic.

Andalucía’s deputy Health Minister, Miguel Ángel Guzmán, told SUR that there have been hardly any flu cases in the region for the past two years but this winter will be different as the virus in Australia will reach Spain in the next few months.

The health authorities are planning to start administering the flu vaccine to over-80s at the same time as the fourth Covid vaccine from October onwards, together with people whose immune systems are suppressed, residents of care homes and health care professionals.

Last year the flu vaccine campaign focused on over-65s and those who live with them, health care workers, patients with serious health problems or chronic conditions, pregnant women and essential service workers such as police officers and members of the armed forces.

Pioneering report

Meanwhile, the regional government is about to publish the findings of a study carried out in Andalucía which shows that people who have had the Covid, flu and pneumonia vaccines are less likely to become ill and, if they do catch the virus, the risk of being admitted to intensive care facilities in hospital or dying has been much lower.

“We are very proud of this piece of research, as it has been the first of its type worldwide,” Miguel Ángel Guzmán said.