With the temperature falling, it’s clear that autumn is coming. But with weather changes, concerns follow – it’s also the flu season.
暑渐消，秋渐起。但随着天气发生变化，令人担忧的事也随之而来 —— 流感季到了。
As humans may face risks of both flu and COVID-19 in autumn and winter, on Sept 10, the latest technical guidelines for flu vaccination were issued by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC).
The CDC recommended key populations such as medical staff, teachers, students, children and those aged 60 and above receive flu vaccines.
Autumn and winter are the periods that usually have a high incidence of flu, according to Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist with the China CDC.
Coughing, fever and sneezing are common symptoms of the flu, but may also be signs of COVID-19 infection.
There may also be cases where a person is infected with both COVID-19 and influenza. These patients will have more severe symptoms, according to the CDC.
Because of the similarity of symptoms, it is important that measures should be taken to ensure the proper precautions. This will also ease pressure on health care workers during this time.
Therefore, an effective solution is to vaccinate certain populations against the flu as early as possible, Wu said.
In fact, influenza shouldn’t be underestimated. There are 3 to 5 million severe cases of influenza every year and 290,000 to 650,000 respiratory disease-related deaths around the globe, according to Global Times.
According to the China CDC, there is an average of 88,000 flu-related deaths every year in China. However, China’s flu vaccination rate was only around 2 percent per year, which is far lower than that in some Western countries. The rate is around 70 percent in the US and 84 percent in South Korea, China News Service reported.
As for this year, according to Feng Luzhao, an expert on public health and vaccination from Peking Union Medical College, the vaccination rate could increase to 4 percent.
And the number of flu vaccines issued in 2020 is expected to reach 50 million doses. That’s because the COVID-19 pandemic has raised people’s awareness of vaccines. More people will want to get flu shots, Global Times reported.