I’ve had the flu before, and it was severe the last time, so I want to try to avoid getting it again, says Alexander Kolstad, 25, after pharmacist Mate Carbo at Pharmacy 1 in Bergen Storcenter put the flu vaccine in his left arm.
In recent days, Carbo says, many have done what Kolstad did.
– Since Thursday, many people have booked an appointment or showed up to get a vaccine. He says we are fully booked today.
Record number of vaccinations
– We set a new record for the number of vaccines given in our pharmacies on Wednesday, and then doubled it again on Thursday, according to the press, call Apotek 1 Kjersti Solberg Ofstad of the BA.
The increase in infection is likely due to the fact that the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) and the Directorate of Health warned on Thursday that they expect a flu pandemic this winter.
Influenza was largely absent during the pandemic due to strict infection control measures, so the protection of the population from influenza is low. Some children have never had the flu, and therefore have little or no immunity. That’s why it’s so important for high-risk groups to remember to get the flu shot this year, said Institute of Public Health Director Camilla Stoltenberg.
many at home
The FHI and the Department of Health state that influenza vaccination is the most important measure to avoid serious illness, but they are concerned about vaccination coverage.
– We are witnessing a clear increase in both applications and vaccinations being dropped before their arrival after the International Organization for Family Health announced its message. Ofstad on Apotek 1, says there are people old and young that come.
Boots pharmacies are also seeing increased activity, Anne-Margaret Alden Thun’s director of communications tells BA.
It was the message from the FHI that prompted both Alexander Kolstad and Odd Vigaard Kendall Wright to get vaccinated now.
– I’ve had the vaccine in recent years, because I don’t want to catch the flu. Although I’m not in a risk group myself, it’s a good idea to protect myself and those around me from infection, says Kendall Wright.
My parents encouraged me to get the vaccine. When I saw that the FHI was anticipating an outbreak, I booked the appointment, says Kolstad.
According to Ofstad in Pharmacy 1, pharmacies in Norway, as of Friday, have dispensed nearly 40,000 doses of the seasonal flu vaccine since the beginning of October.
– More than half come to attend. Ofstad notes that this indicates that people feel the need to get them quickly.
At pharmacies, you have to pay full price to get the flu shot, regardless of whether you are in an at-risk group or not.
- Approximately 1.6 million Norwegians belong to the groups at risk for acute influenza. FHI aims for at least 75 percent of those to get a flu shot.
- Of more than 81,000 children in high-risk groups, only 8 percent received a flu shot last year according to the SYSVAK and Beredt C19 National Immunization Registry.
- Among adults in high-risk groups, vaccination coverage increased sharply within a few years, ending at 63 percent for all people aged 18 to 79, according to annual survey figures by Statistics Norway.
Who should be vaccinated?
People in the following risk groups should receive the flu vaccine annually:
- Residents of nursing homes and nursing homes
- Everyone from the age of 65
- Pregnant after the twelfth week of pregnancy (second and third trimesters). The flu vaccine should also be offered to pregnant women in the first trimester who have other additional risks
- Premature babies, especially babies born before 32 weeks of gestation, from 6 months (chronological age) to 5 years
- Children and adults with:
- chronic lung diseases (including asthma),
- Cardiovascular disease (other than well-regulated hypertension),
- Type 1 and 2 diabetes
- Liver failure or kidney failure
- Chronic neurological disease or injury, especially in people with reduced lung capacity and/or cough strength
- Decreased immune system as a result of disease or disease treatment (such as organ transplants, cancer, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases)
- severe obesity (body mass index over 40)
- Other serious and/or chronic illnesses in which influenza poses a serious health risk, after individual evaluation by a physician (eg, people with congenital chromosomal abnormalities, genetic syndromes and complex chromosomal abnormalities not elsewhere classified)
In addition, the flu vaccine is recommended for:
- Health care personnel and other employees of the health and care service who have close contact with patients during treatment or care.
- People who live with (or similarly close to) people who are immunosuppressed.
- Pig breeders and others who have regular contact with live pigs.
- Sanitation personnel and others who work with poultry suspected or confirmed with influenza.
This year’s vaccine
- The influenza virus is constantly changing, which is why influenza vaccines are updated before each season. This year’s flu vaccines contain four types of influenza viruses: two strains of type A and two strains of type B.
- The effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies from year to year, but it averages about 60 percent. This means that some people get the flu even if they get vaccinated, but we still think the vaccine can reduce the risk of serious illness.
- Vaccination in pharmacies is not part of the influenza vaccination program, and everyone who vaccinates there must pay the full price for the vaccine and vaccination.
GP vaccination from next week
GPs in Bergen begin flu vaccinations starting at week 43, infection control specialist Marit Voltersvik told BA.
Currently, only people in high-risk groups can receive the vaccine from your GP.
The way GPs organize flu vaccination varies from office to office, so check with your doctor’s office, Voltersvik says.
Despite the GP crisis, the head of infection control expects this year’s flu vaccination will go well.
Doctors have done this every year for many years, and it has never been a problem, says Voltersvik.
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