COVID-19 update

The 2020 influenza season is expected to begin within the next month in South Africa, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, has updated the influenza recommendations for the vaccination, diagnosis and management of influenza in the country for 2020.

The influenza vaccine has no known efficacy against COVID-19, but co-circulation of these viruses will increase the pressure on the healthcare system. It is particularly important to protect healthcare workers to ensure that they are able to continue working through the influenza season. The guidelines also include other groups of people at risk for severe influenza that should be targeted for vaccination, such as the elderly (>65 years), individuals with cardiovascular disease, individuals with chronic lung disease, pregnant women and people living with HIV and AIDS (full list available in the guidelines). The vaccine is available in the public and private sectors.

The recommendations were recently published on the NICD Website https://www.nicd.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/INFLUENZA-GUIDELINES-2020.pdf which include a statement on influenza vaccination and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

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