Catalonia will vaccinate children aged 6 months to 5 years next winter


with the wave of bronchiolitis down, the flu already hitting hard general and pediatric emergencies Catalan hospitals. In Barcelona, ​​the adult emergencies experience an increase of “very important activity” between one 12% and 15% more than last year and that in pre-covid times, according to the Hospital of Santa Creu and Sant Pau. is the call “immune debt”: as in previous years, the flu and other respiratory viruses hardly existed, the population is not immune.

The same thing happens in the pediatric emergency. “It goes quite high impact in flu in children all over Spain, just like covid-19. What happens is that we don’t test children because, one thing or another, the therapeutic conduct is the same,” emphasizes Carlos Lucaces, member of the Spanish Society of Pediatric Emergencies (SEUP) and Emergency Manager of the Sant Joan de Deu Hospital (Esplugues de Llobregat). Catalonia and other communities The flu vaccine will be given to children aged 6 to 59 months (five years) from the date of 2023-2024 season.

Children with influenza-like illness, unlike adults of at-risk age, generally do not need hospitalization, which gives respite to some centers like Sant Joan de Déu, a reference for children. “In bronchiolitis, because they need oxygen, they have to come in. At the moment, the activity of our pediatric intensive care unit is normal,” says Luaces. Doctors call to use the masks when people of all ages are with the elderly or patients with chronic illnesses.

Emergency plans

“All emergencies in Barcelona experience a very significant increase in activity between 12% and 15% more compared to the previous year and compared to 2019. That’s a lot, behind every few percent there are thousands of patients”, he underlines. Mireia Puig, Director of the Sant Pau Emergency Service. They circulate the flu (the most), the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV, which causes bronchiolitis) and Covid. “We see them in healthy people and older people,” he says.

Emergencies, he assures, are “Very full” and the hospital had to apply “emergency plans”, such as the use of areas that were not used for hospitalization and “adjustments” of unscheduled surgeries. In addition, the flu wave is “on the rise”. The peak will arrive, calculates the Ministry of Health, around Christmas. Later, covid-19 will arrive, although some experts fear that after this bridge in which there has been an increase in social interaction, the two peaks will coincide at the same time.

Without more staff or spaces

“There is a huge increase in demand but there are no more spaces or staff to visit,” says Puig. In fact, all hospital activity this year is between 2% and 4% higher that of the previous year and even that of 2019. “The population has more demand, which is distributed among all the resources [hospitales, atención primaria]but a very important part is found in hospital emergencies, who performs a 48% of all health activity in Catalonia”.

Adult emergencies sea ​​hospital (Barcelona) receive some 300 daily visits, whereas a week ago there were about 200, an already high figure. “The pressure is way above 2019”, underline sources of the center. In addition to flu patients, they go to the emergency room chronic and elderly patients who are “destabilized” by any virus. “There is a lot of pressure, we are very full”, say these sources. The sea has already opened 19 additional beds at the Esperança Hospital to cover this demand. also had to suspend all surgery which could be postponed.

flu vaccine for children

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Catalonia and other communities The flu vaccine will be given to children aged 6 to 59 months (five years) from the date of 2023-2024 season. Until now, the indication of the flu vaccine was reserved for children with chronic diseases, some risk factor Either cohabitants of people at risk. But this drug will spread of the next campaign. In Spain, three communities (Galicia, Murcia and Andalusia) healthy children aged 6 to 59 months have already been vaccinated against influenza this year (all vaccines are given to children over six months).

“The child is the main vector of transmission of infection. In addition, the higher rate of hospitalization and severity [en niños] this happens in the less than five years old and, above all, in the lesser of two,” says Fernando Moraga-Llop, former president of the Catalan Society of Pediatrics and spokesperson for the Spanish Association of Vaccinology. Moraga-Llop points out that the vaccination of children protect the elderly They are at higher risk of being admitted to hospital.

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