Madrid, (EFE).- The joint vaccination campaign against flu and covid-19 will begin the last week of September and will be aimed at certain target groups such as those over 60 years of age, people at risk, pregnant women and the elderly. health and social health personnel.
This was decided by the Public Health Commission in a meeting in which it also approved recommending immunization against the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), which causes bronchiolitis, to at-risk babies – premature babies of less than 35 weeks, with immunosuppression. severe, with Down syndrome or in palliative care, among others – and to babies up to 6 months.
In this case, the general directors of Public Health of the Ministry of Health and the communities have maintained the same criteria that they already outlined in July, when they established that, taking into account “the uncertainties regarding the availability of the drug in Spain”, It had to start with children up to 24 months old at high risk of severe disease.
Then it will be passed to those under 6 months old at the beginning or during the RSV season, that is, those born between April 1 of this year and March 31 of next year.
Those born during the season will have to be prioritized, who “should receive nirsevimab very early, preferably in the first 24-48 hours after birth” due to the greater severity of the disease in the first days of life.
Those who were born earlier, from April onwards, “will be immunized as soon as possible”, with the ideal being that the majority will be immunized already in October.
Flu and covid vaccines
Regarding the flu and covid vaccines, it will be the third campaign that both are administered together, and that coincides with a moment in which there have been weeks of slight increase in SarS-CoV-2, which is now stabilizing: the rate is around 130 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in Primary Care and 3 cases requiring hospitalization.
What will be the fifth dose of covid-19 is recommended for those over 60; people over 5 years of age housed in residences and disability centers or institutionalized for a long time and residents in closed institutions; under 60 in risk conditions – such as diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, etc. -, pregnant women in any trimester of pregnancy and women during the postpartum period and cohabitants of immunosuppressed people.
Also for staff in public and private health and social health centers (except students for whom flu vaccination is only recommended) and workers in essential public services.
As a novelty to the recommendations approved in July, staff from health establishments, such as pharmacies, have been included.
Vaccines adapted to new variants
The vaccines they will receive from the last week of September and during the month of October, depending on what each community organizes, will “preferably” be those adapted to the new variants; In Europe, only Pfizer’s, known as Comirnaty Ómicron XBB.1.5, already has the support of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Commission.
There are also other candidates: Moderna, which was authorized yesterday in the United States, and Novavax which, unlike the previous two, is not messenger mRNA.
In addition to the groups mentioned, the flu test is also recommended for people between 5 and 59 years old with a higher risk of complications – those between 5 and 18 years old who receive prolonged treatment with acetylsalicylic acid and smokers -, students doing internships in centers health and socio-health workers and people with direct occupational exposure to animals or their secretions on poultry, pig or mink farms or farms or to wildlife.
And also for children from 6 to 59 months, so this season’s children’s calendar is expanded with that of pediatric flu and the monoclonal antibody nirsevimab for RSV.
On the other hand, Health has reported on the monitoring of public health alerts carried out by the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES) during this summer, especially the botulism outbreak in which 13 cases have been recorded in June and July.
Furthermore, surveillance of vector-borne diseases has been intensified – a total of 5 human cases of West Nile virus have been detected in Spain this year – and the usefulness of the Mosquito Alert Platform has been demonstrated.