105 000 doses of vaccine flown into Kyrgyzstan to kick-start influenza immunization campaign
WHO and the Ministry of Health of Kyrgyzstan encourage health-care workers and those at risk of influenza-related complications to get vaccinated against influenza during the immunization campaign that starts in the country on 28 November 2017. An additional 105 000 doses of influenza vaccine were shipped to Kyrgyzstan to allow more people to be vaccinated. The new influenza vaccine was presented during an official ceremony on 21 November 2017.
The Ministry of Health received the supplementary vaccines under the Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction (PIVI) project, which is coordinated by the Task Force for Global Health and funded by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). WHO facilitated the donation and ensured that health-care workers are well trained to administer the vaccines across the country.
“The Ministry of Health of Kyrgyzstan has been working very closely with WHO in the past months to provide a higher number of seasonal flu vaccines for those who need it, and this has become a reality today through the PIVI project,” says Dr Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative in Kyrgyzstan. “We expect that many more people will get vaccinated this year, to the benefit of their individual health and that of the entire community.”
Skilled health-care workers to administer the new influenza vaccine
Over 100 health-care workers across Kyrgyzstan were fully trained in the past weeks to deliver the vaccine. The trainings, which took place throughout the country, included guidance for storing and administering the multidose vaccine vials.
Three epidemiologists and immunologists/vaccinators per district delivered the trainings following guidance received by Kyrgyz health authorities. They did so in collaboration with PIVI and with the support of the WHO Country Office in Kyrgyzstan and WHO/Europe. Kyrgyzstan joined PIVI in 2017.
Influenza season starting in Kyrgyzstan
In Kyrgyzstan, the influenza season usually starts late in the year and peaks in December to January. November is therefore an optimal time to receive an influenza vaccine.
Influenza is usually mild and most people recover quickly. However, it may occasionally cause severe disease and death in certain population groups. These groups include pregnant women, people with chronic diseases, older people, residents of institutions for older people and the disabled, and children aged 6–59 months.
The influenza vaccine is free, safe, and the principal measure for preventing influenza and reducing the risk of serious complications and even death. As influenza viruses constantly change, vaccination is needed every year to keep up with the circulating viruses.