Influenza Vaccines in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic



Influenza Vaccines in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic

On the whole, Bulgarians tend not to be in favor of vaccines. Every year, as little as 2% – 3% of the population voluntarily get flu shots. With that in mind, we must note that 40% of the population in Europe trust vaccines against influenza strains. Scandinavians are even more wary of the seasonal infection – with them, this percentage reaches 70.

2020 brought us an unpleasant surprise – a coronavirus pandemic. Everyone was stressed and worried because it found us uninformed. Doctors hadn’t been made aware of a particular treatment, patients panicked about every cough and fever. Perhaps this was the reason why we saw the number of administered influenza vaccines increase about five times.

The initial shock, however, gradually wore off, and Bulgarians, similar to all people around the world, got accustomed to living with COVID-19. The fear of infection gave way to the need to work and sustain a living, and people became more careless in their contacts. Vaccines against COVID have provoked numerous comments, divided society, and led to the spread of inconceivable information in support of or against vaccination. This, of course, does not affect the virus in any way, and it continues to spread actively, taking an awful lot of victims every day. The number of people in this dark statistic form a significant figure in relation to the population of the country.

The current situation

The past flu season was not marked by a large number of patients. The reasons can be interpreted from different points of view, but overall two can be distinguished. First, people staying home, social distancing, and following precautionary measures significantly limited the spread of influenza viruses. On the other hand, many of the flu patients were marked as “recovered from COVID-19” since the treatment was done mainly over the phone, and not every patient was examined.

This year, flu season is already upon us, and it’s time to think how to protect ourselves from this invisible enemy. Everyone knows that although considered a harmless cold, the flu does not always go mildly and smoothly. Every year, dozens of people fall victim to the complications it causes. In general, after such an illness the body is exhausted, and its defenses are significantly weakened.

Today, the presence of coronavirus further complicates the situation. A person already weakened by the flu could more easily fall victim to a COVID-19 attack. Considering the fact that the majority of the population has not yet been vaccinated against coronavirus, it is good that they protect themselves at least with the flu vaccine. That way, the body’s resistance can be boosted, which will help fight the COVID virus if they experience it.

Who is at most risk?

Of course, no one is safe from complications, but the flu virus, like the Wuhan virus, is especially dangerous for people with underlying medical problems. Their bodies are compromised and easily susceptible to infections. At the same time, with these patients, the disease goes much more severely, treatment is much more difficult, and recovery is slow and long. Very often, hospitalization is necessary, which is the other side of the problem. Bulgaria’s health system is on the brink of survival. There are not enough resources and accommodation, and the medics are extremely exhausted.

That is why, it is extremely important to show common sense during this difficult time. A responsible attitude towards our own health will have a positive impact on the health status of Bulgarians in general. This is the only way to cope with this ordeal that has completely changed our lives.

Benefits of vaccination

Studies and observations by doctors around the world show that people who have got the flu vaccine are less likely to become infected with COVID. If they become infected, the infection passes much more easily, and complications are rare. According to them, this is due to the fact that the vaccine enhances the body’s immune response to external interference. Not to be underestimated is the fact that people who get vaccinated are more cautious about their health. Naturally, this group of people follow the precautionary measures, thus limiting the possibilities for infection.

That is why, it is recommended that you take advantage of the opportunity to protect yourself and your loved ones by getting a flu shot. If you are among the Bulgarians who have decided to get vaccinated against COVID, you have to wait at least two weeks after the second dose has been administered before you get vaccinated against the flu.

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