Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Brussels, 15 October 2021

 

Ahead of the Flu Awareness Campaign Week, Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, made the following statement:

“As we move from autumn to winter, a time of the year where respiratory illnesses become more present, including seasonal influenza and of course COVID-19, we need to take action and ensure our health systems do not become overburdened. Even without the pandemic, up to 40,000 people in the EU lose their lives each year due to influenza-related causes.

I strongly encourage everyone to take seasonal influenza seriously and to get vaccinated against it. With the pandemic as a backdrop, flu vaccination is even more important and necessary than ever. Those at risk of COVID-19 are also those most vulnerable for the flu: healthcare workers, individuals with specific chronic medical conditions, older adults and pregnant women. We have all learned how important and lifesaving vaccination against COVID-19 is: it prevents severe disease, most hospitalisations and deaths.

This year, we must increase flu vaccination rates and close the remaining COVID-19 vaccination gaps to ensure that our most vulnerable populations are protected. With the circulation of both viruses, we must prevent what could potentially become a “twindemic” of COVID-19 and flu.

As for COVID-19, vaccination is the most effective form of influenza prevention. Despite this, there are considerable differences between EU Member States when it comes to the overall uptake of influenza vaccinations. There are Member States with almost 70% of their elderly vaccinated, and in others less than 10%.

We need to change this. This year, we need to protect more people. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, we had an extremely mild flu season last year. Let’s ensure that we do not have a resurgence this year, as our societies gradually reopen.

Now is the time to start making flu vaccine appointments!”

More information

ECDC Risk Assessment

Safe vaccines for COVID

EMA Vaccines for pandemic influenza

Influenza vaccines

* Updated 15/10/2021 at 16:30

 

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