His fear is that the limited number of isolation rooms will be overloaded. Children’s ICs can also get into trouble, says De Jonge. “If many children come in the fall with other respiratory problems, treat them in isolation until covid is ruled out.” This problem did not arise during the first wave in the spring, when flu and other viruses were low.
De Jonge: “It really helps us if you get that flu shot if you qualify.” The fewer patients with influenza symptoms in the hospital, the less pressure on healthcare. “Preventing covid and a flu wave at the same time is very undesirable.”
In October and November, around six million Dutch people are invited to the annual flu shot. That always meant long lines of seniors at the doctor’s office. To prevent vaccination posts from causing corona outbreaks, “you need to organize that well at a distance of five feet and appointments at a time.” “You can’t suddenly put 40 people waiting in a room.”
The flu shot is for everyone aged sixty and older and for adults and children with certain medical conditions. A flu shot is not mandatory. Through the vaccination, your body produces antibodies against the flu virus. This reduces the risk of influenza. If you do get it, you usually become less seriously ill.
The Dutch Association of Hospitals (NVZ) announces a third campaign in a row to make hospital employees enthusiastic about the flu shot, in order to protect themselves and patients. “It is even more important this year because of the corona pandemic to keep those hands on the bed,” said spokesman Wouter van der Horst.
Vaccination rates among hospital staff went from 13 percent to 24 percent nationwide, to 33 percent last season. “It has risen steadily,” says Van der Horst. “We hope for an even higher vaccination rate among healthcare workers. If you have been vaccinated and you still get the flu, then you are sure to have yourself tested for Covid-19. ”
Mild flu epidemic
The 2019/2020 flu season vaccine consisted for the first time of four instead of three strains of infusion. “I don’t know if that has anything to do with it, but we did have a very mild flu epidemic this year,” notes Van der Horst.
RIVM leader Jaap van Dissel said in this newspaper last fall that ‘research shows that flu is more common among health care workers than among the rest of the population’. Van Dissel: “Logical, they often see sick patients, including influenza patients.” A flu wave can cause hospital staff to drop out, resulting in increased workload for colleagues and admission stops.
British Prime Minister and ex-corona patient Boris Johnson calls on residents of the United Kingdom to be vaccinated against flu in the run-up to winter. At least children up to seven years old and all people over 65, but preferably everyone above fifty. About anti-vaxxers who are against vaccinations, he says, “They are crazy.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Health said: “We are currently looking into whether a simultaneous outbreak of the regular flu virus and Covid-19 can occur and how we can prevent it.”