In view of the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic, experts advise that we all have a flu vaccine (and some of us have the pneumococcal vaccine) this year. This is why:
- The more people are vaccinated against the flu, the less flu (and flu-related complications) there would be. We tend to underestimate just how dangerous flu can be, but it is estimated that around five million people worldwide catch flu each year, resulting in almost 650 000 deaths. With less flu going around, there would also be more medical resources available to potential patients with COVID-19, which has no vaccine.
- Flu and COVID-19 have the same basic symptoms, such as fever and coughing. If you don’t have a flu vaccine this year and then get the flu, you may be flagged as a potential COVID-19 case. It is advisable to not put yourself under such unnecessary stress, so rather focus on keeping your immune system healthy and consider getting a flu vaccination.
More about flu and pneumonia:
The flu virus adapts every year, so last year’s flu vaccination will not help prevent you getting this year’s flu virus. Many people feel that they are healthy enough to skip the flu vaccine, or even believe that it can make them ill. Please see this article for common flu myths and truths to help you make an informed decision.
HOW YOUR SCHEME CAN HELP
Many of the Medical Scheme’s cover the annual flu vaccine from their Screening Benefits (one per beneficiary per year), other schemes will cover the vaccine from your positive MSA balance, please check with 4D Health how your scheme will cover this vaccine.
Pneumonia is a life-threatening condition for especially older people, so it makes sense to safeguard against it by being vaccinated if you are aged 65 years or older. Symptoms depend on age and other underlying health problems. In elderly people, symptoms may be much less obvious.
A pneumonia vaccine can help protect you against the most common bacterial cause of pneumonia, and your doctor will be able to advise which vaccine is most suitable for you (depending on your age and other risk factors). While this vaccine may not always prevent pneumonia, it may prevent serious complications.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recommendation for people to have a flu vaccination to reduce the pressure on the healthcare system and to safeguard their own health, more flu vaccinations than usual are being used this year. In addition, government has announced that flu vaccines in South Africa will be reserved for healthcare workers, due to their increased health risk during the pandemic. This means that the stock of flu vaccinations available to the public is running low.
We still encourage members to do their best to get a flu vaccination this year, especially if they are in a higher risk category due to age or an existing medical conditions.
More stocks have been ordered, but due to the global demand, delivery cannot be guaranteed. That means that although some pharmacies may have stock, not all would.
TIP: To avoid an unnecessary trip and the increased risk of infection in doing so, first check with your pharmacy whether they have a flu vaccination available for you.
The 4D Health Team
Article credit: http://nmas.medscheme.com/flu-vac/