In the near future, people in Latvia will be able to start the flu vaccine, the data show.
As of September 6, LETA informed the National Medicines Agency (SAR) that the flu vaccine "Fluarix Tetra suspension for injection in a pre-filled syringe" was available on GlaxoSmithKline Latvia and was not included in the list of medicines to be charged.
In the meantime, it is planned to deliver a suspension for injection of Influvac Tetra in a pre-filled syringe, which is included in the list of recoverable medicines in October, as well as a suspension of VaxigripTetra vaccine for injections in pregnant women and children up to two years of age.
The SAR recalled that drug wholesalers are not authorized to distribute flu vaccines to patients, but that patients can buy the drug at pharmacies in consultation with a doctor or pharmacist and obtain it at the offices of vaccination facilities.
For example, according to Liga Ribkinska, a spokeswoman for JSC Repharm, vaccines could arrive at the JSC "Association of Health Centers" (VCA) health facilities within the Repharm group next week. The VCA will also open an electronic record as soon as vaccines become available.
Ludmila Viksna, Chief Infection Specialist at Riga Eastern Clinical Hospital, said vaccination is the only effective way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. "Unlike other vaccines, such as tick-borne encephalitis, you must be vaccinated with the flu every year before the flu season begins," the doctor added.
She stressed that infectologists recommend vaccinating against influenza in the early fall, when the flu season has not yet begun, as this will give the vaccine plenty of time to protect the body against the flu by developing special antibodies.
Flu is an acute, highly contagious viral infection that affects the respiratory tract, as explained by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (SPCC). Compared to other infectious diseases, influenza differs in terms of spread, frequency and severity of complications.
Flu in Latvia is spread in the autumn and winter, and the disease usually lasts eight to ten weeks, the SPKC explained. During the flu epidemic, the number of hospitalizations and the number of people seeking medical help is two to five times higher.
The SPCC strongly recommends vaccination for the at-risk population as infection can cause serious complications. At-risk groups include young children aged six months, pregnant women, people over 60 with chronic respiratory, cardiovascular and renal diseases, and those with impaired immunity and overweight.
The center's data show that 86 people died in the previous flu season, including two people between the ages of 20 and 29, six people between the ages of 30 and 39 and eight people between the ages of 40 and 49. The other deceased were 50 or older.
Most of the deceased patients had one or more chronic conditions. Of all reported deaths in which the vaccination status of the patients was clarified, no patients were vaccinated against influenza.
A year earlier, 91 people were killed by the flu, and 75 the season before.