The rise in influenza infection rates has begun to slow, but the maximum action plan remains saturated

The rise in influenza infection rates has begun to slow, but the maximum action plan remains saturated

Catalonia has “certainly” already passed the peak of influenza infections, but hospitals and primary care centers (CAP) are still very active. This week's forecasts from the UPC's Computational Biology and Complex Systems (Biocomsc) group coincide with data from the Ministry of Health's Epidemiological Surveillance System, which shows signs that the infection rate is starting to decline this week. However, it is still higher than during the pandemic peaks in previous years and the pre-pandemic years.

“We are definitely past the peak of influenza, but the impact of returning to school remains to be seen,” says Biocomsc member Daniel Lopez Codina. He adds: “It cannot be ruled out that we will witness a recovery. We expect the decline to be slow but progressive. We will continue to achieve very high values ​​in the coming days.”

The Department of Health's weekly balance sheet released yesterday, which compiles data from January 1 to 7, shows that all respiratory viruses (particularly influenza) were on the rise last week. However, according to health workers in various Catalan hospitals and primary care centres, the situation regarding infections is “slightly better” this week, although they admit that the situation is still very saturated.

Primary care has been greatly helped by the fact that after the Christmas holidays, health worker models have already been fully integrated. “We notice an increase in activity compared to previous weeks, but the return of employees on vacation helps. There are more orders to activate the vaccination by the clinic,” says Jordi Mestres Lucero, a member of the Catalan Family and Child Association. Community Medicine (Camfic) and Family Physician at CAP Sanllehy in Barcelona. Other cities, such as Barcelona's Rio de Janeiro, were “quieter” this week compared to the previous week.

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Vaccination failure

Flu vaccination is the aspect of this year's season that has failed the most. In this sense, some epidemiologists missed that the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Health issued collective calls for vaccination. However, other consulting sources blame this year's failure on the laziness of the population. Nurses point out that “flu vaccination always takes a lot of time,” yet they have noticed a “rise in requests” for vaccination this week. “People want to get vaccinated when they already have the coyote in the house, not before. In addition, people end up feeling sick from Covid vaccines, and now they cost a lot,” they lamented.

According to health figures, coronavirus vaccine coverage is 59% for those over 80 years old and 45% for those aged 70-79 years. Influenza coverage in these two groups is 66% and 53%, respectively. These numbers are insufficient in both cases, according to health authorities.

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