Around 90% of people in high-risk groups have not received flu influenza A vaccinations yet this year, President of the Cyprus Pharmaceutical Association Eleni Piera Isseyiek told ACTIVE radio on Friday.
Children with chronic respiratory, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, immunosuppressed children and elderly people are considered to be the most vulnerable groups to influenza.
It is “inconceivable that people who should have gotten their shots since October haven’t yet done so,” she said.
According to Isseyiek, people should get their shots before they become sick and for some days they should not come in contact with others who have the flu.
Seven people have died from influenza A so far this winter and another 40 are in hospital.
Flu shot stocks
Isseyiek was also asked to comment on reports that stocks of flu shots are running out, especially in the private sector.
She said that this is not something unusual as every year the private sector runs out of flu shots, but the public sector always has supplies to cover them. With a doctor’s prescription, people can buy shots normally from a public hospital, Isseyiek said.
“Antibiotics are not cough drops”
Isseyiek also spoke about the misuse of antibiotics by people who have the flu.
“People should not use them without a reason. Instead, we can provide them with cough syrup and vitamins. Antibiotics are not cough drops,” she said.
People who get sick more than once, should not use the antibiotic they used the first time they were sick or the one family members have already used, she added. “Every case is different, antibiotics should be used only after a doctor’s prescription.”
Vaccine confidence in Cyprus
According to an EC report on the state of vaccine confidence in the EU in 2018, 60.6% of Cypriots believe the seasonal influenza vaccine is important, 86.1% believe that it is effective and 86.1% believe that it is safe.