The number of coronavirus infections continues to rise around the world, and as the season progresses, experts are discussing the effects on diseases caused by other pathogens in the winter. Then, for example, numerous cases of coronary infections and a wave of flu can collide. One question is currently dominant: is the amount of vaccine against influenza pathogens sufficient?
Germany could supply 26 million doses of flu vaccine this season, according to Federal Health Minister Span. His ministry has ordered so many doses of vaccination – this is more than ever. Span defended himself against fears that there might be an insufficient supply: At the moment, possible bottlenecks for delivery are local and timely. The vaccine is not delivered overnight, but is gradually becoming available. Vaccine doses will be available gradually, whenever needed, the CDU politician added. It makes sense to get vaccinated in November or December.
Order too many doses of vaccines?
According to Spans, an average of four to six million doses of vaccine have been destroyed in recent years – because they have not been used. The Minister of Health appealed to those for whom the Standing Vaccination Commission recommends vaccination – the so-called so-called risk groups such as the chronically ill, the elderly, pregnant women, medical staff and medical staff – to be vaccinated. This is not only important to prevent the so-called superinfection for each individual – ie. a combination of flu and coronavirus infections, for example – but also to protect the health system. The fewer people who become infected with the flu, the more facilities will be available for other patients, especially those with Covid 19, Span said.
Nor enough for at-risk patients?
The background to Spann’s statements was an appeal from pediatricians in Germany. The president of the federal association warned Fischbach in the Augsburger Allgemeine that there was a shortage of flu vaccines. The 26 million doses of vaccines provided by the federal government are not even enough for all patients at risk, Fischbach said. With this planned amount, it is assumed that the vaccination rate will remain low.
He is of the opinion that the amount of vaccine is sufficient for only about two thirds of the patients at risk. He also advocated vaccinating children and adolescents in general. These will trigger flu waves by first getting sick and then infecting others.
The World Health Organization even recommends regular flu vaccinations for all children as young as six months. In the United States, nearly 60 percent of children are currently vaccinated, and the number is rising. In the EU, the first countries to follow the WHO recommendation to vaccinate all children against the flu, such as the United Kingdom and Finland.
The president of the German Medical Association, Reinhard, called on teachers and day care staff to be vaccinated against the flu. The expected flu wave should not jeopardize the operation of schools and day care centers, he told the Funke media group. Due to the applicable rules of distance and hygiene, the flu wave could be safer than in previous years. However, vaccination is important, even in the face of a pandemic. The flu vaccine does not work against the coronavirus, but like any vaccination, it is an immune system training program.
Scientists warn of collisions
A British study has tried to describe how high the risk is when flu viruses and pathogens are encountered. 37 scientists warn of this clash between a pandemic and a flu wave. In addition, the risk of infection is increased in winter because people spend more time indoors. As a result, the second corona epidemic between autumn 2020 and early summer 2021 could be significantly worse than the first, the researchers point out. They predict the “worst case scenario” for Britain with up to 120,000 deaths.
According to the World Health Organization, Europe must prepare for an increase in daily corona deaths in the autumn. WHO Regional Director Kluge told the AFP news agency that higher death rates would be recorded in October and November. He also warned against placing too high expectations on vaccines. It was still unclear whether the vaccine could help all population groups, Kluge said.
Masks and distance – how high is the risk of infection anyway?
There are also rumors that the flu epidemic is likely to be weaker this year than in previous years. Due to the rules of distance and increased hygienic behavior, the general risk of infection is currently lower than usual, said, for example, the federal president of the German Association of General Practitioners, Ulrich Weigeld, of the Funke media group. rules of conduct that are now being tested even after the pandemic is over: “Above all, frequent and thorough hand washing and ventilation.”
An overview of other areas of the world makes it possible to make an initial possible assessment of the dangerous situation: Influenza virus infections have been significantly reduced in the countries of the southern hemisphere due to corona measures. This is shown by the data estimated by the American health authority CDC. Accordingly, the corresponding influenza infection between April and July was detected in only 51 of the more than 83,000 specimens from Australia, Chile and South Africa. In previous years there were an average of 24,000 positive results from 178,000 samples in these countries.
The CDC does not consider the link to measures for corona content, such as distance maintenance or masks, to be proven – but plausible. The findings suggest that appropriate measures could be a useful adjunct to influenza vaccination to protect particularly at-risk groups, it said. The CDC suspects that the flu epidemic in the northern hemisphere could be significantly reduced this winter if measures to curb the coronavirus continue.
Coronavirus: Immune to seasonal fluctuations?
Due to the low number of flu cases in the spring, the ERC ended the flu season two months earlier than usual. This usually lasts from early October to mid-May. Stefan Ludwig, a virologist at the University of Münster, told Deutsche Funk that flu-like infections in Germany had abruptly decreased during the spring lock, but that the SARS-KOV-2 virus was “holding on well”, even on hot days. Corona does not show what kind of season can be caught with the flu, for example, he noted: “And vice versa, this may mean that it is not as bad in winter or autumn, when it gets colder, as for example with to cause a flu epidemic. “
ERC for risk of influenza viruses
The president of the Robert Koch Institute, Wheeler, pointed out that in some regions of the world, flu monitoring is neglected due to costs. But for vaccine development, it is especially important that investigations continue. The flu vaccine is updated annually to reflect changing strains of the virus.
The Robert Koch Institute estimates that five to 20 percent of the population is infected during a flu epidemic. The number of deaths varies depending on the severity of the epidemic. According to the ERC, a particularly large number of people died from the flu in the 2017/2018 season, namely about 25,000. However, only about a third of the German population has been vaccinated. The WHO and EU target is 75 percent.
Vaccinations are also possible in pharmacies
In order to approach this level of vaccination coverage, those with statutory health insurance in parts of North Rhine-Westphalia can in principle also be vaccinated against influenza in pharmacies. The model project is unique in Germany and will initially last three years. Vaccinations in medical offices are still possible, it says. The peak of the flu wave is usually in January / February.
Every second German wants to be vaccinated against the flu
In fact, according to the survey, about one in two Germans wants to be vaccinated against the flu this year. In a survey by the Civi Institute for Augsburger Allgemeine, 51.5 percent of 5,002 respondents planned to be vaccinated in August this year. On the other hand, 41.3 percent refused vaccination. Older people in particular have expressed a willingness to get vaccinated against the flu. In a similar survey from the previous year, only about 30 percent of respondents said they wanted to be vaccinated.
The Federal Association of German Pharmacists gives other figures and refers to a representative study: According to this, almost every second adult in this country who belongs to the risk group still does not want to be vaccinated against the flu.
Further articles on coronavirus
We have created a news blog. Given the large amount of information, this provides an overview of the most important current developments.
Numbers and dates
+ Current developments: Coronavirus figures in Germany (as of October 27)
+ Situation in Germany: What does the rapid increase in new infections and the incidence value mean? (Status: 10/22)
+ Classification: What numbers do we mention for the coronavirus and why (as of August 22, 2008)
Test and protection
+ Coronavirus tests: when, where and how? (Status: 28.09.)
+ Corona infection: how safe are the tests? (Status: 08.10)
+ Treatment: This is a far cry from coronavirus vaccine research (October 20)
+ Remedisivir and Co: How far is the search for drugs against Covid-19? (As of October 16)
+ Infection: What we know so far about reinfection and coronavirus immunity (as of October 10).
+ Hospitals: What does the increase in coronary infections mean for them (from October 15)
Infection and transmission
+ Transfer: What role do aerosols play (from 10.10.)
+ Areas: How long does the coronavirus last there (from October 12)
+ Face masks: What you need to know about protective masks (as of: 24.09.)
+ Autumn: What to do when a corona and a flu wave collide (October 14)
+ Excess mortality: how deadly is the coronavirus really? (Status: 10.10.)
+ “Outdoor Events”: When Demons, Celebrations, and Events Become a Problem (October 13)
Rest and leisure
+ Customs: What is left of the carnival of this session (as of September 19)
+ Clubs: What about opening discos (from 03.10.)
+ Travel warning: Current list of risk areas (as of October 22)
+ Overview: Accommodation bans in the federal states (as of October 17)
+ Returnees and partygoers: Those currently driving the German infection are on the rise (from 10.10.)
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