People should make sure to take the flu vaccine later this year in a bid to minimise the risk of the next influenza season being aggravated by the possible presence of Covid-19, Health Minister Chris Fearne said.
In reply to a parliamentary question by Labour MP Jean-Claude Micallef, Fearne revealed that this year, the government has ordered 200,000 flu vaccines, twice as many as in previous years, which will be made available free of charge at health centres this autumn. Since the influenza virus changes rapidly, new versions of the vaccine are developed every year, and the vaccine should be taken each year.
Fearne noted that while the Covid-19 situation in Malta appeared to be under control – no new cases were reported today, and just 11 active cases remain – the pandemic remained a reality, and that there were countries where the number of cases was actually on the rise. Consequently, he said, Malta needed to remain vigilant to avoid a resurgence of the pandemic.
The minister noted that health authorities worldwide were worried about the risk of a Covid-19 pandemic and the seasonal flu pandemic spreading at the same time, since the two infections together may prove to be far more serious than either of them alone.
“So I wish that a lot more people will be taking the flu vaccine this year,” Fearne said, stating that health authorities had already started working towards this aim.