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19 November 2018
Asthma , COPD, Other Diseases
- Healthcare

Autumn is passing and winter coming, are you thinking about whether to get the vaccination against influenza, also known as the flu? And what about the pneumococcal vaccination against pneumonia? These two virus transmitted diseases are dangerous and we are writing about it because they are VERY dangerous for people with asthma and COPD. This is because influenza and pneumonia will exacerbate big time asthma and COPD and there is grave danger. If you have someone at home who has asthma and COPD, it is excellent if you take the seasonal vaccination as well. Then you are protecting the person you care about.

In some countries it is very easy, accessible and affordable to have vaccination, even employer can organize that to happen in the workplace for those who want or it is announced where and when you or risk groups can go get it without hassle. In other countries it is more cumbersome, you need to have a medical appointment for prescription, get it from the pharmacy and another appointment  to vaccinate.

EFA is part of a Steering Committee on Influenza Vaccination, spearheaded by one of the leading health advocates at the European Parliament, MEP Françoise Grossetete to promote accurate information, access and uptake for influenza vaccination, especially for the groups at risks. 

The International Federation of Ageing, and our member Swedish Heart and Lung Association recently invited us to join an expert meeting on pneumonia vaccination. As a result, we joined the IFA statement for the World Pneumonia Day on the 12 November.

Today we inquire, we investigate, we question and we need nuanced and targeted evidence-based information to make decisions about our health and those close to us. People with severe food allergies worry about the contents of the vaccine and need that targeted information and advice. People with COPD have many issues in their daily life to cope and to adhere. People with milder asthma may think asthma is not an issue. We know vaccination can have side-effects which are passing or more serious, like any other medicinal product. We, even as patients think, ‘it wont happen to me’. We don’t want to take any medicine ‘just in case’. But vaccination is PREVENTION. Prevention is about protecting us, those close to us, societies, the vulnerable and future generations.

Vaccines are researched, investigated, approved for their effectiveness and safety by public authorities and scientific experts and there is rigor in surveillance of safety. We know that, being part of the European Medicines Agency Patient and Consumer Working Party. We need to trust that process otherwise we are lost and take role of the doctors, which we, the patients, are not.

Its time! We at EFA believe that seasonal vaccination needs to be part of the regular healthcare plan for the patients we represent at European level. Patients make their own decision, but let it be an informed and accessible one.

To get engaged, see here.

To learn more on the World Pneumonia click here.