Johannesburg – Unlike other years, the flu season has not yet hit South Africa.
Health experts believe non-pharmaceutical methods to prevent the spread of Covid-19, such as wearing a mask, physical distancing, and sanitising have helped to keep the influenza virus at bay.
They have, however, urged especially high-risk patients and pregnant women to get the flu vaccination.
Nicole Jennings, the spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics, said the flu strain changes every year and therefore there arises a need to take a vaccine during flu season once a year.
Head of Discovery Health’s centre for clinical excellence, Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, said the flu vaccine will not protect you from Covid-19.
“Influenza and Covid-19 are not part of the same virus family. While the symptoms may be similar, their origins are different. “It is entirely possible to be exposed to both viruses and then develop one or both of these illnesses,” said Nematswerani.
She added that the influenza has been around a lot longer than Covid-19. A substantial amount of research has already been done to better understand its patterns, risk factors and how it can be prevented.
“This research allows scientists to develop a vaccine for each year’s strains of flu. Vaccines are designed to protect us from developing serious illness after exposure to a pathogen.
“Vaccination decreases the chance that we will need to be admitted to hospital for severe symptoms or complications linked to an infection. Nematswerani said people older than 65 with pre-existing health conditions should receive a flu vaccine. “Anyone with a weakened immune system is vulnerable.”
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