Wednesday, 4 October 2023
More than three years after the start of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic (and five months after the World Health Organization declared it over), Andalucía will begin the usual autumn vaccination campaign next Monday. It will include not only the flu jab, but also the coronavirus one, which will continue to be administered in the coming years, as it has not yet passed into the seasonal phase.
The regional Minister of Health, Catalina García, announced on Tuesday after the meeting of the governing council of the Junta that the double vaccination campaign against influenza and Covid-19 will iniitially vaccinate people in residential centres for the elderly and centres for the disabled; the general population aged 85 and over; and the staff of health and socio-health centres, residences and centres for the disabled. They will be joined by staff in health and social-health centres, nursing homes and disability centres; and children aged 6 to 59 months who attend appointments for jabs on the regular vaccination schedule.
As has been the case in recent years, vaccination against influenza and Covid-19 will be staggered among age groups. After the first phase, from 16 October onwards people over 70 years of age, children aged six months and over, adults with risk pathologies, elderly dependents and their professional carers, as well as pregnant women, will be vaccinated.
The next phase will begin on 30 October. It will be the turn of the over-60s for the double vaccination; other professional groups, such as security forces, farm workers, livestock farmers and veterinarians; and prison staff.
The last phase will be rolled out from December, when those living in households with persons aged 60 years or older or persons at risk will receive the double vaccination.
Catalina García pointed out that Andalucía will have 2.2 million doses available for this campaign, which is 7.5% more than the previous one. The reason for this increase is the lowering of the starting age for influenza vaccination in adults, from 65 to 60 years of age, as with the Covid-19 vaccination.
Tetravalent flu vaccines will be used, i.e. they cover the two A and two B strains of the virus, which is why, according to the Junta, they are currently the most complete «and, therefore, the ones that can provide the greatest protection and reliability».
The Covid-19 vaccines available for this campaign gave been adapted for the currently predominant circulating variant in Spain: Omicron XBB.1.5. The regional minister pointed out during her speech that her department had waited to announce the vaccination campaign in order to have updated medical data that would provide the best protection for the public.
Catalina García also took advantage of her speech to report some data related to this same campaign, but from last year. On the coverage of the 2022-2023 flu campaign, she pointed out that more than 70% of the over-65s were vaccinated; 46% of children aged between six and 59 months, the first time they had been included in the systematic vaccination; 81.3% of pregnant women; and 50.6% of health and social-health professionals. In fact, of all the figures, she regretted the latter, which she considered too low, but hoped that it would increase in 2023/2024.
Specifically, from last 3 October to the end of April, 1,953,383 doses were administered, which was 206,662 more than in the 2021-22 campaign, making it the year in which the most flu doses were administered in history.
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