MOSCOW, December 15 /TASS/. A record-setting number of Russians - almost 40% of the country’s population - have been vaccinated against the flu virus in 2016, Russian Deputy Health Minister Sergey Krayevoi said on Thursday.
"We have vaccinated 38.3% of the population for the first time this year. A total of 55.5 million people were inoculated against influenza," he said.
Anna Popova, the head of Russia’s consumer rights watchdog, the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights, said that the vaccine strain fully matches the flu strain, which is circulating throughout the country. "We can say with full credibility that the flu viruses spread by the people who have contracted the infection are not resistant to conventional medical drugs, which are available in Russia," she emphasized.
Popova also noted that not a single serious flu case had been recorded in Russia’s regions.
According to Popova, the Russians are actively buying up anti-virus drugs straining the supplies of pharmacy chains, which need to plan their stocks of anti-flu drugs and medicine to fight acute respiratory viral infections carefully for the New Year holidays.
Russia’s flu vaccination rate has increased by more than 60% over the past 10 years while flu morbidity has plummeted 90% over the same period of time, Russian Public Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova stated at a medical congress dubbed: The Immuno-Biological Shield of Russia back in November.
"Russia’s flu rate has dropped more than 90% over the past 10 years while the country’s vaccination rate has increased by 60%. One-third of Russia’s population was vaccinated in 2015," the Russian minister said.
Skvortsova also noted that Russia used domestically produced vaccinations to inoculate children, pregnant women, adults and old people against the flu. According to her, very few vaccinated patients developed flu complications after the illness and that only one vaccinated person really died of flu.
Earlier, the Russian Health Ministry reported that it had planned to increase the vaccination rate by 10% ahead of the 2016-2017 season compared to the previous year and had purchased 8 million additional doses of flu vaccine for that purpose.