The flu vaccination campaign in Emilia-Romagna will start on Monday 25 October. One and a half million doses are available: they will be intended primarily for high-risk subjects, of all ages, by pathological, physiological condition (pregnancy) or occupational exposure.
Already written in black and white, in the circular sent by the Directorate General of the Department of Health Policies to the Health Authorities, the indications for the implementation of the campaign and the surveillance of influenza, starting with the provisions of the Ministry of Health.
The main objective is to reduce complications related to influenza and, consequently, access to the emergency room, but also to simplify the diagnosis and management of suspected cases (given the similar respiratory symptoms for Covid-19 and influenza) especially in age. adult.
The aim is to reach an ever-increasing number of vaccinated especially among the over-sixty-four with or without chronic diseases, people between 6 months and 59 years with chronic diseases and pregnant women, regardless of gestational age, or post-partum: categories for which vaccination is free, as well as – at the request of the interested party – it is for healthy subjects who fall within the 60-64 age group. Free admission is also provided for doctors, health and social-health workers, volunteers from the health / social-health sector, employees of essential services (such as teachers, law enforcement, public transport workers), blood donors, staff from farms and slaughterhouses.
The coveted goal is to reach 75% of vaccinated over-sixty-four-year-olds (in the past season the threshold of 70% was exceeded, with an increase of 13.2%) and to confirm the increasing trend in coverage relating to pregnant women, subjects with chronic diseases of any age, to healthcare personnel.
To support the achievement of these objectives, as every year, a communication and awareness campaign by the Region aimed at the entire population, in particular the elderly, is planned.
The campaign will therefore start on Monday 25 October, taking into account the ministerial indications and the expected increase in vaccination requests. On an organizational level, the Local Health Authorities must adopt efficient and timely procurement methods for the necessary vaccine doses; the companies themselves will provide general practitioners with the list of names of patients with pathologies at risk and those aged 65 and over; for citizens between 60 and 65 years still to be completed, the vaccination is given free of charge at the request of the interested party. The vaccine can be administered at any time during the flu season, even if the citizen arrives after 31 December 2021.
The local health authorities will provide the treating physicians with the doses of vaccine necessary to vaccinate patients belonging to the categories at risk. The administration of the vaccine to people who do not fall into the categories at risk can be carried out by the Ausl at a later time and only on condition that the vaccination of the categories for which the ministry provides for the free active offer is guaranteed as a matter of priority. In these cases, since these are optional services and not included in the essential levels of assistance, the payment of 24 euros per administration (including the cost of the vaccine borne by the Region) is applied.
Centrality of general practitioners and pediatricians
A central role, also reaffirmed in the circular of the department, is that of general practitioners and pediatricians of free choice in informing and promoting better compliance with vaccination in patients; they will also have to integrate the lists of names by pathology prepared by the Departments of Public Health and Primary Care, which may possibly also be used for the active call. Finally, they will have to identify their minor clients with chronic diseases, for which the free vaccine is offered, or who live together and / or have close contacts with people at high risk of complications.
It also aims at the maximum involvement of the assistance structures for vaccinating guests and operators. The circular also reiterated the strategic importance of influenza vaccination of doctors and all health personnel to reduce the risk of getting sick, given the greater exposure to the virus, and of transmitting the infection in communities.
Not just the flu shot. Pneumococcal vaccination is actively offered (with direct communication by the Companies to the recipients) and free of charge in pediatric age (during the first year of life), to people of any age with chronic diseases that represent a risk factor for the development of invasive pneumococcal diseases and, from 2017, to people who turn 65 this year. Also in this case the vaccines will be delivered by the Local Health Units to general practitioners, who will be able to administer the vaccines throughout the year.
The 2020-2021 flu season in Emilia-Romagna
On the regional territory, the 2020-21 influenza season showed a level of incidence always below the base threshold, significantly lower than the previous season; the maximum incidence was observed in the eighth week of 2021, with 2.4 cases per 1,000 assisted. It is estimated that around 161,000 people have fallen ill in the region.
Overall, 1,159,219 people were vaccinated last season and coverage of 70.2% over the age of four was achieved (+13.2 percentage points compared to the 2019-2020 season). The vaccinated subjects with a pathology at risk of complication reached 134,054 (+ 4.9% compared to last season). In addition, the number of women vaccinated during pregnancy increased significantly (6,173 compared to 3,655 in the previous season). Finally, no serious cases and deaths have been reported in the past flu season.
The measures of hygiene and individual protection
In addition to the vaccine, personal hygiene and protection measures remain fundamental, widely spread in this period of circulation of SARS-CoV-2: washing hands (or using an alcoholic solution in the absence of water), respiratory hygiene (covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, using disposable handkerchiefs; or using surgical masks especially in the presence of respiratory symptoms); avoid close contact with sick people and crowded places, while maintaining distances for physical distancing; avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.