During 2021, influenza and pneumonia occupied one of the first 5 places as a cause of death in all age groups, claiming the lives of more than 50 thousand people. These diseases mainly affect girls and boys under 5 years of age and over 65, and have an increase in the number of infections in the coldest months. However, the virus that causes influenza can be spread throughout the year; that’s why Getting vaccinated is the best way to stay protected.
By receiving the vaccine we avoid that, in case of infection, we develop a serious condition that can cause sequelae or, for those who are most vulnerable, death. In 2019, 98% of deaths from influenza had no vaccination history and only in the first quarter of that year, the cost of care for hospitalized patients with influenza amounted to more than 60 million pesos; this without counting the expenses generated directly to the families for attention to the illness or the irreparable losses that could be prevented.
By vaccinating ourselves and maintaining hygiene measures, we protect ourselves and also the people around us, since we avoid the transmission of infections and possible outbreaks. Likewise, we prevent the formation of new variants that may represent a danger to public health. Let us remember that, in 2009, the outbreak of influenza with the A H1N1 variant originated in Mexico and caused the first pandemic of the century, leaving more than 70,000 infections and 1,172 deaths in our country alone..
COVID-19 left us a clear example of the scope of a pandemic, but throughout history, influenza has also claimed thousands of deaths, and has even caused several pandemics. That is why we must not neglect or underestimate the consequences that this disease can cause and we must join efforts to ensure that we are all protected in order to achieve an increase in coverage.
The benefits are not only for public health, but for the economy of the health sector. A study carried out in 2021 found that immunizing all age groups against influenza and increasing vaccination coverage against this disease could save up to 206 million dollars annually, only for medical care costs..
At Save the Children, we work to prevent girls and boys from dying from preventable causes, which is why we collaborate with different institutions and organizations to promote vaccination and improve national coverage. Go to your nearest health unit and request the vaccine for all girls and boys from 0 to 5 years of age and adults over 65 years of age, as well as patients living with comorbidities. The vaccine is free and safe.