Less than 5 percent of Slovaks got flu shots

IN THE 2014/2015 flu season, less than five percent of Slovaks were vaccinated for influenza – which is approximately the same percentage for the past three seasons. 

(Source: Sme)

The flu vaccination is fully financed by health insurers.

“The vaccination rate increased after the 2008/2009 flu season when it reached 12.8 percent and then it declined markedly,” experts wrote in a report by the Office of Public Health Care (ÚVZ) of Slovakia. They consider vaccination the most effective method to prevent spread of the virus.

Recently, the flu vaccines included antigens of three strains of flu virus, including swine flu. More than 305,000 doses were distributed in Slovakia and almost 240,000 were used.

More than 240,000 Slovaks asked health insurers to cover the vaccination and almost 8,000 doses were covered without health insurance. More than 57,000 doses were not administered.

People older than 59 years of age were most likely to be vaccinated (almost 168,000), followed by those between 16 and 58 (more than 69,000), while youths under 15 accounted for only 11,000 vaccinations.

The report also stated the number of deaths from SARS, which increased four times compared to the previous season. During the last flu season, 25 people died of grave acute respiratory disease which required hospitalisation. In the previous season, only five people had died. None of those who died had been vaccinated against flu and 17 had been diagnosed with a risk factor that contributed to their death.

Overall, 74 people fell ill with SARS and three of those had been vaccinated.

The rate of acute respiratory diseases (AROs) and flu was the highest in 2014/2015 since 2006/2007. Several viruses were spread during the last flu season as there were also some non-influenza viruses in the air. The number of ARO patients increased by about 25 percent against last season, to more than 1.7 million. Of those, flu represented more than 200,000 cases, which is 48 percent more compared to the previous season. Children under age five mostly fell ill.

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