Flu shots to start early October

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The Health Ministry announced it would start administering the flu vaccine for vulnerable groups from early October.

The aim is to promptly protect the vulnerable and elderly from seasonal infections ahead of the winter season when flu cases rise.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela was briefed on the procedure to vaccinate those eligible by officials.

Vaccinations for Influenza A will be conducted at GP clinics, following the same procedure as last year, with more information released next week.

The minister was informed of the timeline to receive the 180,000 vaccines ordered, which is 25,000 more than last year.

So far, 60,000 flu shots have been received, and the second batch of 50,000 will arrive within the week.

The remaining vaccines will be received gradually by the end of October.

Scientists believe this year’s flu season will be unpredictable.

Usually, flu seasons are easier to handle when some portion of the population has natural immunity due to getting infected the previous year.

But since many people spent last winter washing hands and socially distancing, fewer than normal got the flu.

That means an above-average number of people are at risk now, and a flu shot is the best way of prevention.

Scientists usually develop the annual influenza vaccines based on the composition of the flu strains that circulated the year before.

However, last year’s anomaly means it’s trickier to make this year’s vaccine.

When vaccines are well-matched to the circulating flu virus, they can reduce the risk of illness by between 40% and 60%.