From NHK World
August 26 2020
Even if it doesn’t feel like it, winter is coming — and with it, fears of another wave of the coronavirus on top of the seasonal influenza. Japanese health officials plan to call on elderly people — who are most prone to becoming seriously ill — to get a flu vaccine before a potential shortage makes it difficult.
The health ministry estimates flu vaccines will be supplied from October enough to cover about 63 million people — half of the country’s population.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about infectious diseases in general, and there could be a shortage of flu vaccines.
Officials and experts discussed who should be prioritized.
The plan is to call on people aged 65 and over to get vaccinated starting in early October.
Then from the latter half of October, medical workers, people with pre-existing conditions, pregnant women and infants will be encouraged to get the vaccine.
COVID-19 and influenza have similar symptoms, such as high fever. The health ministry plans to boost virus testing systems before the flu season begins.