MURCIA’S health department is calling for everyone over the age of 65 to get a flu shot at their local health centre.
The annual campaign is also aimed at pregnant women, the chronically ill, health personnel, as well as workers in essential services and nursing homes.
For the first time the department has extended the vaccination programme to children born prematurely (before 32 weeks). In their case, immunisation against the virus is recommended from six months to two years of age. In addition, the campaign is also aimed at teachers this season.
In the 2018-2019 season, 200,969 people were vaccinated in the Region, 32,000 more than in the previous period, representing an increase of 18.9 per cent. Despite this increase, coverage remains low, according to data from the department. Only 47.5 per cent of those over 60 went to their health centres for a flu jab.
By age group, coverage was 30 per cent among people aged 60 to 64 years, and 52.9 per cent among those over 65. In the latter group there is progress, but the rate remains below the national average (54 per cent).
In general, Spain is far from the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which plans to reach coverage of 75 per cent.
Last year only a third of hospital staff were vaccinated, according to data provided by the Minister of Health, Manuel Villegas, who stressed the importance of avoiding sickness absences amongst staff and also prevent patients catching flu.
Last season there were fewer than 20,000 cases of flu in the Region, a low figure compared to the 40,218 from the previous winter. Despite the lower incidence, last winter’s epidemic resulted in 58 deaths.
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