China CDC suggests key populations should be the first to take flu vaccines

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A child receives a vaccine at a disease prevention and control center in Xinle City, north China's Hebei Province, April 25, 2019. (File photo: Xinhua)

BEIJING, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Health professionals, staff and vulnerable individuals in venues with gatherings of people, including elderly care centers, nursing and welfare homes, are advised to take flu vaccines on a priority basis.

They are among the four key populations who, according to suggestions from the latest technical guideline for influenza vaccination issued by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) amid the COVID-19 epidemic, should be the first to take flu vaccines.

The key populations include people at key sites, such as teachers and students in nurseries, primary and secondary schools; prison inmates and workers; other groups at higher risk from influenza, including citizens aged 60 and above who stay in their own homes, children from six months to five years old, patients with chronic diseases, family members and caregivers of infants under six months old, and pregnant women or women preparing to become pregnant during the flu season.

Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist with the China CDC, said a hike in the number of flu patients is expected in autumn and winter, periods that usually have a high incidence of influenza.

The development will overlap with the country's COVID-19 control efforts, making it more difficult for health professionals to identify COVID-19 cases and increasing isolation difficulties and healthcare burdens, to the disadvantage of COVID-19 control, Wu said.

An effective solution is to vaccinate certain populations against flu as early as possible, he said.