Prevention is vital when it comes to public health and people need to be well informed about immunization, Health Minister Sorina Pintea has said.
A project for the drawing up of an immunization strategy, worth over 4.4 million euros, was approved in Bucharest. The announcement was made by Health Minister Sorina Pintea, who explained that the money will be used to turn 21 counties into pilot centers, with well-trained healthcare personnel able to efficiently promote vaccination and equipped with proper storage facilities.
Sorina Pintea: “I am in favor of strategies that have a budget attached, so that, when we start applying a certain strategy we know very well what we have to do. We have launched the strategy for hepatitis, and we are about to launch a national strategy for cancer. The national immunization strategy will be applied once the project under way is implemented.”
The Health Minister has announced that 1.5 million flu shots were purchased, by 200 thousand more than last year, to be used mainly on high risk patients, such as chronic patients, the elderly, children and pregnant women. The seasonal influenza vaccination campaign has started with the immunization of the medical staff, for whom the first 50 thousand flu shots have already been made available. The President of the Romanian Society of Microbiology, Alexandru Rafila, has explained on Radio Romania that the only way to prevent the flu virus from spreading is immunization.
Alexandru Rafila: “The flu shot is the only way to prevent the disease. This is why immunization is common practice around the world, and should be so in Romania as well, because, without it, the influenza virus is easily transmitted. This can lead to an epidemic, as it was the case last year. You know that more than 200 people died because of it.”
Alexandru Rafila has proposed a project under which the flu shot for children from 6 months to 5 years should be subsidized. At a recent debate on health problems, experts have asked for vaccines to be subsidized, as it is the case in other European countries. Head of the National Health Insurance House, Vasile Ciurchea, has explained: “The Insurance House and I personally support prevention in general and vaccination in particular because it has been proven, in time, that immunized people have not caught the disease anymore, so legislation must be changed to allow for vaccines to be subsidized.”
According to statistics, between 5% and 10% of adults and up to 30% of children are affected by flu every year, with 650 thousand deaths reported worldwide.
(Translated by Elena Enache)