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Health

More Indians getting flu vaccine amid Covid -19 spread: Experts

IANS | November 25, 2020 04:38 PM

NEW DELHI: In view of the winter season and Covid-19, health experts on Wednesday said that many people are taking pneumonia and influenza vaccines as a precaution to save themselves from respiratory infections.

Experts have warned that it is highly possible that people may contract both influenza and the Covid-19 infection in winter, leading to devastating consequences.

Dr Avi Kumar, Consultant - Pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute in New Delhi told IANS: "What we are generally following is that in post Covid patients we are giving flu vaccine as well as the pneumonia vaccine."

"Because right now we are at the start of winter and this is generally the beginning of flu season as well as coronavirus. Both are RnA viruses so the vaccine which is available against influenza is known to be very helpful in reducing hospitalization, " Kumar explained.

International researchers have recently found that receiving the influenza vaccine does not increase a person's risk of contracting Covid-19 or worsen associated morbidity or mortality.

Published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, the study shows the flu vaccine is the single most important intervention to help in staying healthy this fall and winter.

"More studies need to be done to confirm the same, only a few studies cannot confirm it, " Kumar said.

"However, what is available with us right now is prevention of other respiratory infections in the form of flu as well as pneumonia so that hospitals are not overburdened with other respiratory illnesses as well as Covid patients, " he added.

"Hence, we prefer tetravalent inactivated flu vaccine which has been given to every patient in post Covid status.

"In addition we have been giving them vaccines for pneumonia, conjugate vaccine is been given to the age group of above 65 years, this vaccine is given only once in a lifetime. We are also giving a polyvalent vaccine which is to be repeated once in every five years, " Kumar said.

According to Dr Akshay Budhraja, Consultant Department of Pulmonology, Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital, in the absence of a vaccine specific to the Covid-19 virus right now, they are checking the vaccination history of the patient.

"We give one shot of flu vaccine every year and pneumococcal vaccine is given once in five years. As of now, we have not faced any shortage, " Budhraja told IANS.

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