With the colder season comes the next wave of flu. Experts advise getting vaccinated against influenza – but there seem to be problems with the availability of the vaccine.
Especially now, when the temperatures are slowly falling into the minus range and the risk of colds is increasing again, many are getting vaccinated against the flu virus. From the point of view of experts and medical professionals, this is an optimal time – but it seems that the vaccine is already running out!
Germany-wide delivery bottlenecks?
According to various media, there have been reports of patients lately who wanted to be vaccinated against the flu but were sent home by the doctor because there was no vaccine in stock in practices and pharmacies. Are there not enough vaccine doses for everyone, as many media are currently reporting?
Flu vaccination: These vaccines are not covered by health insurance companies
The flu epidemic still has a firm grip on Germany and is presenting doctors and health authorities with an almost insurmountable challenge. The hospitals have not only been overcrowded for weeks, the nursing staff themselves have also been infected with the virus – and there is still no ebb in sight. This is not least due to the fact that the health insurance companies do not cover the quadruple vaccine, which is effective against the influenza B viruses. Here you can find out everything you need to know about the reimbursement of flu vaccines by health insurers.
Local distribution problems
When asked by Marians Welt, a spokeswoman for Paul Ehrlich Institute, the higher federal authority for vaccines, of course: No. There are indeed regional bottlenecks, but that is only due to an uneven distribution. Some federal states would have no problems at all, with others the vaccination doses would still be in the chain of action between manufacturer and wholesaler. In order to get a concrete overview of where sufficient vaccine is available and where there are bottlenecks, a corresponding form is now available on the Paul Ehrlich Institute website. Should patients no longer receive a vaccine in the doctor they trust or in the pharmacy, the spokeswoman for the institute asks them to fill out the form.
Around 15.7 million vaccine doses would be available to doctors’ practices and pharmacies this year, according to the spokeswoman notifies. However, most of it has already been distributed or consumed. Three of the four manufacturers no longer have a vaccine in stock because it is only produced for one season at a time. However, that still does not mean that there are not enough vaccine doses.
Effective home remedies and medication for respiratory infections
Winter time is flu time. There are many home remedies, and there are many more medications – but which of them really helps and which cure does more harm than good?
Last year 16.9 million vaccine doses were released in Germany, but only about 15 million of them were used. The remaining 10 percent had to be disposed of unused at the end. This year, more vaccine doses have been released than were used last year.
Despite the numerous vaccinations, more than 300,000 cases of flu were recorded in 2017, and 2,000 were even fatal. According to doctors and experts, it is therefore important to protect yourself against influenza in good time. This applies above all to the so-called risk groups, which people belong to with diseases such as diabetes, asthma or cardiovascular diseases, pregnant women, caregivers and people over 60 years of age count.