The health minister of the region has highlighted the significant risk influenza poses, increasing heart attack risks up to eightfold and stroke risks by ten times.
Starting on, Monday, January 15, the Junta de Andalucía's public health service is initiating a walk-in vaccination program for influenza, Covid-19, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) at all regional health centers. This program targets specific groups, including people over 60, those with chronic illnesses, healthcare workers, pregnant women, security personnel, individuals living with high-risk persons, and smokers for flu and Covid vaccinations.
The regional government also emphasizes the importance of vaccinating children aged six to 59 months against the flu. In the case of RSV, which primarily causes bronchiolitis, the focus is on vaccinating children born between April and September 2023, as well as newborns from October of the last year until the campaign's end.
Recent data shows a 12.97% decrease in hospital emergencies in Andalucía during the first three days of the week, with the total dropping from 40,444 to 35,196 compared to the same period last week. Seville and Malaga have the highest emergency numbers. Hospital admissions have also slightly decreased by 0.64%, with Seville and Malaga again leading in numbers. Furthermore, urgent care cases in primary care centers have reduced by 22% compared to the previous week.
Catalina García, the regional health minister, emphasized in a recent press conference that vaccination is crucial for preventing contagion and severe illness. She highlighted the successful bronchiolitis vaccination campaign, which has immunized 92.4% of eligible babies since April 1, 2023, leading to a 75% reduction in hospital admissions compared to the previous year.
García also reiterated the heightened risks associated with influenza and the importance of vaccination, especially for vulnerable groups like the elderly, those with chronic conditions, and pregnant women. She pointed out the necessity for annual vaccination due to the changing nature of virus strains.
As of last Friday, Andalucía has seen 1,708,069 influenza vaccinations and 1,083,734 Covid-19 vaccinations since October 2023. For children's flu vaccinations, 120,677 in the 6 to 59-month age group have been vaccinated. Flu vaccine coverage is notably high among the elderly and residents of old people's homes, while Covid-19 vaccine coverage is also significant in these groups.