Portuguese NHS has 1.4 million doses of influenza vaccines ready to combat winter flu
This year the National Health Service will have 1.4 million doses of influenza vaccines ready to give free of charge to the elderly, those in care institutions, and some chronically ill patients.
In a note issued Wednesday, the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) announces that the vaccines that will be available this year in Portugal are for the first time tetravalent, working for four types of influenza viruses (two type A and two of type B).
According to the DGS, these vaccines are expected to be “more comprehensive than previously used trivalent vaccines”.
“In the NHS the vaccine is free of charge for citizens aged 65 and over, for those who are institutionalized, and for people with some defined illnesses, as well as for NHS health professionals and for firefighters,” the note reads on the DGS website.
The health authority recommends vaccination to health professionals and other caregivers, including firefighters, noting that they are “more likely to be exposed to people at higher risk for complications.”
Vaccines are also recommended for the elderly, chronically ill and pregnant.
In addition to the doses available at the NHS, the vaccines will also be available at community pharmacies on prescription, which will be valid until December 31st.
In cases where it is free and strongly recommended, such as the elderly, nursing home residents and some chronically ill patients, the vaccine does not require a prescription and also does not require a fee.
Influenza is a contagious disease that usually handled with relative ease by the immune system. Complications, when they arise, occur mainly in people with chronic diseases or the elderly.
The DGS considers vaccination to be the best way to prevent serious complications and recommends that vaccines should preferably be administered by the end of the year.