“Twindemic” is a word that combines “Twin” and “Pandemic”, referring to a situation in which two similar diseases are prevalent at the same time. There is a risk that the medical system will not be able to cope with the mix of infected people or the simultaneous infection of the two viruses. COVID-19 has now caused many infections worldwide and is continuing. On top of that, the flu is prevalent in Korea, raising concerns about a twindemic.
This year’s flu vaccination can be more critical for the precaution of this twindemic. With COVID-19, the increasing number of flu patients can lead to many visits to medical institutions and problems with insufficient treatment facilities. Also, COVID-19 and the flu can be diagnosed only through direct visits to the hospital because the symptoms are similar to high fever and body aches. If a patient with the symptoms is given a flu shot, the probability of flu is reduced, and medical workers can more easily diagnose. So, if the flu vaccination reduces the number of flu cases, it can reduce confusion in the health care system and reduce people’s anxiety.
The government has expanded the age range of free flu vaccinations this year. The current free vaccination for the elderly, pregnant women, and children remain unchanged. While the age of the elderly has been lowered from 65 to 62, and for children, the age has been expanded from 15 months to 18 years old. The free flu vaccinations included three-type vaccinations against two Type A and one type B virus, but this year, the four-type vaccination will be carried out, adding one type B virus to the three-type vaccinations.
It generally takes an average of two weeks for antibodies to form after getting the flu, so it is best to get vaccinated four weeks before the flu is prevalent. Flu vaccinations are an option, but it seems essential that as many people as possible get vaccinated and reduce the chance of a twindemic.