The influenza vaccine should be given free of charge to all citizens, according to the leader of the Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha.
It is estimated that influenza, not to be confused with the common cold, kills between 290,000 and 650,000 people each year. Influenza can lead to complications such as pneumonia and worsen long term medical conditions like heart failure, asthma and diabetes. Seasonal influenza can kill otherwise healthy babies, children, and adults, as well as the elderly.
The vaccine for influenza changes each year depending on the prevalent strain of that season. While it is not 100% effective, it does lessen the chance of you getting the flu, and if you do get it, it lessens the chance of hospitalisation, serious side effects, and death.
Basha said that providing the vaccine for all citizens will lessen the burden on the healthcare system that will presumably still be dealing with COVID-19.
“The government must urgently take action and provide a free flu vaccine for the entire population in the fall. This will protect Albanians from the flu season and its complications and would help our health system to be prepared to face the COVID-10 pandemic,” he said.
Last winter, prior to the vaccine, Albanian hospitals were struggling due to widespread influenza infections.