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‘Covid vaccines ok, but flu shots necessary’: With winter approaching, doctors ask people to take H1N1 jab in Kashmir

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File photo: KM/Umar Ganie


Srinagar: Health experts have asked people to get a flu vaccine shot to prevent soaring viral infection and decrease the risk of developing respiratory problems like H1N1 and pneumonia.

Flu shots are vaccine doses that help prevent people from catching influenza. Getting annual flu shots is considered to be the best bet of defense against catching the infection. Since the virus keeps on mutating every year, people are asked to get flu shots every year.

 

Nodal officer Government Medical College, Srinagar Dr. Salim Khan said influenza is a seasonal viral disease affecting all ages and more severely among elderly and comorbid people.

“It’s recommended that we take an annual shot of flu vaccine. We get most cases in winters and springs. So it’s recommended to get WHO recommended flu vaccine for the northern hemisphere for 2021-22 as strains mutate every year. We need the latest vaccines every season,” Dr. Khan said.

He said the ideal time for the flu vaccine is October onwards, earlier the better as it takes 2-3 weeks to develop antibodies. “There’s no interaction between COVID vaccine and Influenza vaccine. So those who have taken COVID vaccines shall take flu shots also,” Dr. Khan said.

Lecturer Government Medical College, Srinagar Dr. Suhail Naik said flu shots were and are important to prevent influenza and its associated morbidity and mortality.

 “Flu shots as such will not slow down the ongoing pandemic, but it is very imperative to control the frequency of influenza cases by vaccinating all people in general and vulnerable in particular,” he said.

Dr. Naik said the illness caused by Covid-19 and influenza has a similar clinical presentation and influenza cases will overburden health infrastructure to a larger extent including critical care areas.

“Further there are chances that a person may get simultaneously infected with both viruses, therefore, can increase mortality and morbidity,” he said.

President Kashmir Medical Representatives Association Mohammad Arif Bhat said the demand for the vaccine doses for the coming flu season will increase by the end of September.

“Presently, we have a flu shot vaccine of one major brand available in the market, i.e, Influvac Tetra by Abbott, which is priced at R 1840,” Bhat said.