STA, 6 October - Vaccination against the flu will be free of charge for all Slovenian residents with health insurance this season after it was already free last season, the Health Ministry has told the STA. The National Institute of Public Health has ordered 360,000 doses of the vaccine.
The order exceeds the 290,000 doses available last year, when there was an exceptional interest in vaccination because it was strongly encouraged by health authorities. This was to prevent a collapse of healthcare in the event of major complications stemming from flu as the Covid-19 epidemic was gaining momentum.
For the 2020/2021 season, the authorities initially selected several vulnerable groups to qualify for free-of-charge flu vaccination, but expanded eligibility too all holders of health insurance, based on a provision from a coronavirus relief legislation.
Since the legislation is valid until the end of 2021, flu vaccination, which usually starts in the second half of October, will also be free of charge for all this season.
The flu season was rather atypical in 2020/21 with practically no case confirmed in the country, largely as a result of a lengthy school lockdown and other preventive coronavirus measures. However, a rise in respiratory diseases in children this autumn shows the coming virus season could be different.