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In times of Covid, a flu shot must for everyone, say experts

Quadrivalent vaccine must be given to whole people in September: Dr Nissar Ul Hassan

Srinagar, September 07, 2020 : With the Coronavirus still spreading widely, it is time to start thinking seriously about influenza which typically spreads in winter in Kashmir. Experts say that major flu outbreaks would not only overwhelm hospitals but can also affect a person to greater extent if a person contracts both flu and virus simultaneously thereby advocating early flu shots in the form of vaccines.

Experts believe that this year people have to remain extra vigilant and authorities should start giving flu vaccines in September as it is the ideal time to get your flu shots to prevent yourself from getting both flu and virus at a time.

Talking to news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Dr Nissar Ul Hassan, a prominent flu expert in Kashmir who is also president of Doctors Association Kashmir said that every year before the arrival of the flu season which begins from October and can last even upto May, people must get flu vaccine shot to stay safe.

“December and January are the peak months of flu. We keep on urging people to get flu shots well on time,” he said. u season and every year we ask people to get vaccinated.

He said that everywhere you have new vaccines as there are viruses that keep on changing every year and this year also different virus strains are circulating in the community and there is a need to get updated vaccination.

H1N1 popularly known as Swine flu, H3N2, Victori and Yamagata are four viruses whose strains are moving in J&K this year and there is a need for a quadrivalent vaccine this year which can prevent people from all four types of flu.

“People should get the flu shot this year in September as usually people were getting flu shots by the end of October or beginning of November. However, this due to covid-19 people should get vaccinated in September as it takes at least two weeks to build antibodies and if you get vaccinated in September, you will be fully protected in October and flues cannot affect you, he said, adding that it is very important in Covid times as this winter we would have double wave of epidemic this year one is flu and other is Covid-19 as covid-19 cases are expected to rise in winters as it is characteristics of respiratory viruses,” the flu expert told KNO.

He said that keeping in view that Kashmir will have more cases of Covid-19 in winter there is need to vaccinate people at an earliest. “If people get flu in winter, we won’t be able to differentiate whether it is flu or covid-19 as both have common symptoms,” he said.

Dr Nisar said that if one gets the flu his/her immune system gets weakened and the person is more prone to other infections like covid-19. “Based on Brazilian study of 92,000 Covid positive patients, where in it was found that flu vaccine decreases mortality rate among Covid positive patients besides that they found that if you give flu vaccine before onset of Covid-19, it decreases the mortality by 20 percent and if you give same after onset of covid-19 it decreases mortality by 27 percent,” the doctor said. “Quadrivalent vaccines must be given to 0.5 ml to all persons who are of age from 3 years onwards and 0.25 ml from 6 months to 3 years. We have injection available in injection and nozzle form available, he said, adding that vaccines must be given to elderly and other patients to develop their immune system.”

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