EU and WHO call for joint flu and coronavirus vaccination this winter

The European Union and the World Health Organization (WHO) have recommended this Wednesday to combine in this winter campaign the administration of vaccines against coronavirus and seasonal influenza, especially in the most vulnerable population, to anticipate a possible new wave of contagions.

“While we are not where we were a year ago, it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over. Unfortunately, we are seeing indicators rising again in Europe, suggesting that another wave of infections has begun, and with the arrival of autumn and winter we can expect a rebound in influenza,” Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, WHO Director-General Hans Henri P. Kluge, and European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) Director Andrea Ammon said in a joint statement.

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“Vaccination saves lives. It reduces the chances of contagion and the risk of serious consequences of COVID-19 and influenza,” adds the statement in which the European and world authorities warn that “there is no time to lose” and call on all “eligible” people, especially the most vulnerable, to be vaccinated as soon as possible with both serums.

They also have words for the European governments to whom they ask to redouble their efforts to “reach the unvaccinated” so that they come to be vaccinated as a priority group, given that there are still “millions” of people to whom no doses have been administered.

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Experts warn that the possible “co-circulation” of the two viruses places the most vulnerable populations “at increased risk of serious illness and death” and the possibility of “increased pressure on both hospitals and health care workers, who are already exhausted after nearly three years on the front lines of the pandemic.”

“Along with public health measures, vaccination remains one of our most effective tools against both viruses. We urge countries in the European region to prioritize the protection of the most vulnerable groups by co-administering influenza and COVID-19 vaccines whenever possible,” the statement reiterated.

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