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When, where and how to get the flu vaccine in Spain

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 25 Oct, 2022 Updated Tue 25 Oct 2022 12:40 CEST
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How to get the flu vaccine in Spain? Photo: AFP PHOTO / CESAR MANSO

As the winter season is fast approaching, so too unfortunately is the flu season. Here’s everything you need to know about who can get the flu vaccine in Spain, where and how to get it.

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Temperatures are still unusually high for this time of year across most of Spain, so it may not feel like winter is on its way, but you should still be prepared for the upcoming flu season, particularly if you fall into a high-risk category.

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According to Spain’s Health Ministry, the flu virus infects between 5 and 20 percent of the population each year and around 300,000 to 500,000 people die from flu each year worldwide.

The Ministry warns that it is especially dangerous if contracted at the same time as COVID-19, which is still circulating, despite the relaxation of measures.

READ ALSO: How to apply for a public health card in Spain

Who can get the flu vaccine?

Ministry of Health has set out several guidelines as to who should receive the flu shot this year. These include:

  • Those above aged 65
  • Those under the age of 65 who are at risk from complications from the flu. This includes children (from 6 months) and adults with chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, neurological or respiratory, including bronchopulmonary dysplasia, cystic fibrosis and asthma.
  • Immuno-surpressed people and those that suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, chronic inflammation, cancer and blood diseases.
  • Morbidly obese people.
  • Pregnant women in any trimester and postpartum up to six months after delivery who had not been vaccinated during pregnancy.
  • Babies and children between six months and two years old who were born prematurely before 32 weeks.
  • Those who can pass on the flu to those at risk such as those who work in hospitals, care homes, pharmacies etc.
  • Those who work in emergency services such as paramedics and firefighters. 

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The objectives for the 2022-2023 season are to vaccinate 75 percent of the elderly aged 65 and above and healthcare staff. They also want to innoculate more than 60 percent of pregnant women and those with high-risk conditions.

The vaccine campaign for 2022-2023 started between September 26th and October 17th depending on your region but is ongoing throughout the winter, and you can continue getting the vaccine after these dates.

The exact dates and requirements may vary in different regions. For example, in Madrid, they are recommending that those over the age of 60 get vaccinated instead of those aged over 65.

The vaccine campaign in Madrid runs from October 17th 2022 until January 31st 2023. In Valencia, the campaign also began on October 17th. 

Where and how can I get vaccinated?

If you fall into one of the above categories, you can request your vaccination from your local health centre or clinic, public and private hospitals, community vaccination centre and institutions such as care homes.

The elderly and those at risk may receive a double vaccination against Covid-19, as well as the flu.

You will typically be able to request the jab either by logging on to your region’s health system online and booking an appointment or by calling up and booking one that way.

In some regions, you may also be able to get vaccinated at certain pharmacies. Some pharmacies in Galicia, the Canary Islands, Andalusia, the Basque Country and Catalonia will be administering the vaccine to those who are in one of the above vulnerable categories.

What if I don’t fall into an at-risk category, but I still want the vaccine?

You’re not guaranteed to be able to get the flu vaccine if you’re not vulnerable to the virus, but if you really want one, there may be a way.

For example, in Catalonia, the health authorities have announced that two months after this year’s flu vaccination campaign, if there are still vaccines left, you can request one.

For reference, this year more than 1,600,000 doses have been purchased. There are 34,800 more doses compared to the previous year's campaign.

What is the effectiveness of the flu vaccine?

According to Spain's Ministry of Health, the effectiveness of the vaccine is between 40 and 60 percent, although it can vary depending on the circulating strains, previous vaccinations and other factors.

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The Local 2022/10/25 12:40

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