Every year, during autumn, an influenza vaccination campaign starts. In 2019, vaccination began on September 10. Categories of the population, in accordance with Government Act No. 2295 of 30th December 2009, belonging to high risk groups are vaccinated at the expense of the local budget, the rest at their own expense, or at the expense of the employer. Polyclinics in the city of Karaganda, the Central hospital in the city of Abay, NEA of Zhezkazgan purchased a vaccine for immunization of the population on a paid basis.
Everyone is surly thinking about the relevance of this event: whether to be vaccinated, how effective vaccination is, etc.
To give answers to these questions, let's analyze the how the vaccine works.
The vaccine consists of non harmful versions of the virus, which would be a red flag for anyone's immune system. The immune system produces antibodies when this antigen is introduced, and as a result, after 10-14 days, the concentration of antibodies reaches the optimal level. Subsequently, when the body encounters the real influenza viruses, the immune system quickly responds to the already known antigens that are part of the structure of virus, and destroys them easily.
The efficiency of the vaccine comes down to two main factors. The first is how much of the vaccine antigens correspond to the actual strains of influenza circulating in the area; second, how the vaccinated body responds to the vaccine, in other words, what level of protection was developed in response to the vaccine.
Based on laboratory data from the Sentinel epidemiological surveillance, the circulation of certain strains that are included in the production of the vaccine is predicted. The vaccine is produced annually just before the start of the epidemic.
How protected the body is after vaccination depends on the immune system of the person. The older the person, the lower the immune response and the longer the time needed for the production of antibodies to a protective level. Immunosuppressive therapy also leads to a decrease in the immune response, since it is aimed at suppressing the production of anti-bodies.
Undesirable load on the body can lead to a decrease in the immune response, as hypothermia after vaccination can lead to diseases. But even in this case, the vaccine will allow smooth transitioning of the disease into a milder form, to prevent more serious complications.
It should be known that vaccination is a specific prophylaxis, and this vaccine will only protect from influenza viruses, but not from all other viruses that cause acute respiratory infections, of which there are a lot.
A logical question arises: then why do I need vaccination?
Vaccination is very necessary. You should know that vaccines are used for infections that have serious consequences after an illness, such as disability, severe fetal malformations, and even death.
Everyone knows that the flu is dangerous for the complications it arises, such as pneumonia, heart damage, myocarditis, pericarditis, heart failure, and sinusitis, kidney disease, pyelonephritis and glomerulonephritis, meningitis, encephalitis. In addition, often those who have the flu have exacerbated chronic diseases.
Flu is especially dangerous during pregnancy, as pregnancy fundamentally affects the immune system.
When a woman is pregnant, her immune system does not respond to diseases as quickly as it would've before pregnancy. The body of a pregnant woman prioritizes the protection of the fetus over everything else. Thus, it naturally reduces the ability of the immune system to protect the mother and respond to any illness. But this increases the risk of catching the flu and its complications.
In connection with the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy, pneumonia can develop on the 3-4th day, leading to oxygen starvation of the fetus and the woman herself, moreover, adverse outcomes are possible, depending on the aggressiveness of the virus and the attachment of a bacterial infection.
Pregnant women who have the flu can have a premature birth. This can happen up to 37 full weeks of pregnancy. Keep in mind that premature birth can lead to serious health problems for your baby.
Given that the disease is transmitted by airborne droplets, it is very difficult not to get infected during the period of the influenza epidemic. Hoping that wearing a mask will protect you from the disease 100%, is very far from reality. The mask is effective for 2-3 hours, then it must be changed, in addition, when wearing the mask, it should also properly seal off the mouth and nasal passages for it to work.
Statistical data of the region on pregnant women catching the flu: to begin with, there are no cases of influenza among vaccinated pregnant women.
The annual coverage of pregnant women is 99.3% - 99.9% of number of subjects, since 2016.
Since 2017, the number of influenza vaccines purchased for free of charge has increased by 2.2 times than that of before. So, if in 2016, 66806 doses were purchased, then in 2017-2018, 150,000 doses were purchased, in 2019 - 150778 doses, for 2020 it is planned to purchase -172000 doses.
With an increase in the total number of populations vaccinated against influenza, incl. pregnant women; the number of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases amongst pregnant women, who were not vaccinated due to contraindications due to health reasons, is decreasing.
So, in the epidemic season 2015-2016, 15 cases of influenza amongst the unvaccinated were registered, which accounted for 2.5% of the number of pregnant women with acute respiratory viral infections, coverage of vaccination totaled to 2788 pregnant women. In 2016-2017, 2 cases of confirmed influenza were registered - 0.2% of the number of pregnant women with acute respiratory viral infections, where as 5906 pregnant women had already been vaccinated.
In 2017-2019 there were no cases of influenza among pregnant women with ARVI; 5127 and 4662 pregnant women were vaccinated, respectively.
From the above, you should be able to conclude how important vaccination is in effectively preventing influenza!
Take care of yourself and your loved ones!
Nurlybayev Yerzhan Shakirovich
Primary Health Care
Террористік қауіпті жағдайда өткізіледі
Қазақстан Республикасының 2015 жылғы 16 қарашадағы № 405-V заңы