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Canary health centres begin flu jabs with special booster for ever 70s 

A new enhanced flu vaccine is being offered to all Canary residents over the age of 70.

The health department of the Canary Government is stressing this “bonus” as the annual flu jabs campaign gets underway in all health centres within the archipelago.

The vaccine is recommended for people over 60, chronic patients of all ages, pregnant women, health professionals and other professions that are fundamental to the community, such as police and firefighters.

“These recommendations aim to reduce mortality and morbidity associated with influenza and the impact of the disease on the community,” said a health department spokesman.

“For this reason, they are basically aimed at protecting people who are at greater risk of presenting complications in case of flu, which can transmit the disease to others who are at high risk of complications and those who, due to their occupation, provide essential services in the community.”

Doctors say vaccination could reduce between 75-80% of the deaths that occur as a result of this disease, which are around 2,000 direct annual deaths in Spain, although this range varies in overall data from 1,400 to 4,000 deaths associated with comorbidity factors (ie with additional health complications).

Meantime, the results of a flu survey from last year have been revealed.

In the 2016/17 influenza season, a maximum incidence of 2,697 cases was reached in week 48. This was similar to the one reached in the previous season in week 7. In addition, in the season 2016/17, an increase was observed in the number of flu cases in relation to the previous season of 2015/16.

“The level of intensity of influenza activity recorded in the Canary Islands from the beginning of the 2016-2017 season to 20/2017 (from 15 to 21 May) was low and associated with a majority circulation of influenza A ( H3H2),” says the health department.

In the 2016-2017 season, the epidemic wave began ten weeks earlier than in the previous season 2015-2016 and the epidemic period was shorter, lasting three weeks. The incidence was also lower in 2016-2017 as the peak of the season was 145.5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 255.9 the previous season.

There were 28 deaths in the Canaries and of these, only three were known to have been vaccinated.

The statistics for vaccinations in the 2016-2017 season were:

Number of influenza vaccines administered in the Canary Islands- 201,259 doses.

Coverage greater than or equal to 65 years: 57.47%.

Coverage from 60 to 64 years: 18.78%.

Coverage in pregnant women: 14.89%.

Coverage in health personnel: 18%.