Flu jab rollout early October

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Cyprus health authorities will be rolling out an influenza vaccination campaign early October, following the expected arrival on Wednesday of some 170,000 jabs for the seasonal flu.

A health ministry announcement said on Tuesday urged those in vulnerable groups to come forward for a flu shot, to avoid contracting the flu along with COVID-19.

The flu is an acute viral respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus.

It is usually found in particles secreted from the respiratory tract of infected individuals. Therefore, it is mainly transmitted airborne through coughing and sneezing from person to person and/or by touching contaminated surfaces.

It occurs annually in both the northern and southern hemispheres during the winter months, and its infection rate is approximately 10% in adults and 30-40% in children.

In Cyprus, based on epidemiological data, the seasonal flu activity usually begins in January, peaks in February and subsides by the end of March.

Symptoms usually begin with a headache and a feeling of malaise and are followed by high fever, chills, cough and upper respiratory symptoms, which can last up to ten days.

Mild to severe

Influenza can cause mild to severe illness. Most healthy people get over the flu without complications, but people in high-risk groups (chronic heart, respiratory problems, immunosuppression), are at greater risk for serious complications.

Vaccinations will be carried out by general practitioners.

Flu shots are recommended and will be administrated free to the following groups.

  • People aged 65 and over,
  • Children over 6 months and up to 15 years, inclusive,
  • People over 15 years of age who present one and/or more of the following aggravating factors:
  1. Asthma or other chronic lung diseases,
  2. Heart disease with severe hemodynamic disturbances,
  3. Immunosuppression (hereditary or acquired due to disease or immunosuppressive/ immunomodulatory treatment),
  4. Have recently had an organ transplant,
  5. Sickle cell disease (and other serious hemoglobinopathies),
  6. Diabetes mellitus or other chronic metabolic disease,
  7. Morbid obesity (metabolic syndrome) with a Body Mass Index (BMI)>40 kg/m2,
  8. Chronic kidney disease and liver disease,
  9. Neuromuscular or neurological diseases.
  • Pregnant regardless of gestational age, lactating,
  • Children and adults taking long-term aspirin (eg, Kawasaki disease, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.), for the possible risk of developing Reye’s syndrome after influenza.