The rise in H1N1 influenza cases has turned the focus on the annual influenza vaccination, including for the elderly.
On seeing the influx of patients with H1N1 influenza, doctors have called for more awareness of the need for the annual flu vaccination.
Suresh Kumar, consultant, infectious diseases, Apollo Hospitals, said COVID-19, H1N1 influenza and dengue were occurring in Chennai, with more cases of H1N1 influenza being reported. “The government should insist on the annual flu vaccination, including for school children. Those aged above six months are eligible. There is a need for awareness of the annual flu shot. I am seeing that those who had earlier taken the vaccine regularly have not got themselves vaccinated in the last two years,” he said.
While the symptoms of influenza may subside in two to three days, the elderly may suffer. “This is why vaccination is important,” he said.
“People at risk — the elderly, those with diabetes, heart and lung diseases, cancers and those who underwent organ transplantation — should take the inactivated vaccine every year before the flu season,” said Srinivas Rajagopala, senior consultant, interventional pulmonology and sleep medicine, Kauvery Hospital.
The annual flu vaccine is definitely important for the elderly, said G.S. Shanthi, senior consultant and geriatric physician. She said it was one of the recommended vaccines for the elderly. “The flu season starts in August and September. We strongly recommend that those aged above 60 go in for vaccination prior to that, and some people do get themselves vaccinated. The awareness is rising.”
She added that vaccination for the older people would prevent the infection or reduce the severity of the infection, if it occurred. “In due course, if a person is vaccinated regularly, the number of times he contracts the flu infection will definitely come down,” she said.