It is that time of the year again, it's time to get your annual flu shot in Spain. This year Spain started early with the campaign for the flu shot, because people with COVID-19 might have similar symptoms and they want to avoid an overload in the Spanish healthcare system. But how does it work in Spain? Who is considered to be part of a high-risk group? Where can you get a flu shot and what are the costs?
Who is considered high risk for the flu?
These people are considered part of the high-risk group for the influenza virus and are advised to take a flu shot:
- People of a certain age, especially those over 65 years old and those who are living in elderly homes.
- People with an underlying condition, people with a low resistance, or pregnant women.
- Healthcare workers and family members of people that are at high risk because of the possible transmission.
Everyone can get a flu shot in Spain, but it is not mandatory
The regular way is to go to the doctor and ask for an influenza vaccine; in the public system, you will be prioritized based on your risk level. In other cases, the doctor gives you a prescription to get the vaccine at the pharmacy, then you go back to the medical center to have your shot administrated.
However, at most pharmacists you can get a flu vaccine without a prescription from a doctor. You only need to go to a health clinic to have it administrated. But be aware that: most of the vaccines need to be refrigerated, so make sure to make an appointment in advance.
Because there is such a rush this year it can occur that vaccines are not in stock at the pharmacist. You can ask them to put you on a waiting list.
Why do you need a new flu vaccine every year?
Every year the influenza virus mutates and therefore it is important to have the most recent vaccine. And the other reason is because the antibodies that the vaccine creates are only working for a limited time. If you cannot go through the public healthcare system in Spain, the flu shot will cost you less than €20 (shot administration included).
The influenza virus mutates and in different regions in the world are different types reported. The WHO (World Health Organization) provides a specific global map and advice per region in types of viruses for different vaccines. Here you can find more information about the global evaluation of the types and subtypes of the influenza virus.
In expectation of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is even more important to stay healthy. You take care of yourself and others, wash your hands regularly, wear your facemask, keep your distance from others and help and be kind to each other where- and whenever you can. Find more information about the annual flu shot in Spain from the Spanish government.