Experts said people should get flu vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic period to prevent extra burdens on healthcare resources.
According to the latest technical guideline on flu vaccination issued by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the public is suggested to take flu vaccines in a timely manner, which is the most effective and economic way to prevent influenza.
Flu patients have similar symptoms to COVID-19 cases, such as fever and cough, and a hike in the number of flu patients is expected in autumn and winter, according to the guideline.
The development will overlap with the country's COVID-19 control efforts, making it more difficult for health workers to identify COVID-19 cases and increasing isolation difficulties and healthcare burdens, said Feng Zijian, deputy head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Wu Guizhen, chief biosafety expert at China CDC, said taking the flu vaccine could protect against flu and prevent symptoms such as fever, thus reducing burdens on healthcare facilities.
Wu said the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine could be used at the same time.
According to the CDC guideline on flu vaccination, inactivated flu vaccine and other inactivated vaccines can be used at the same time on different parts of the body. But a person who has taken an attenuated live flu vaccine can only be inoculated with other attenuated live vaccines at least 28 days after the vaccination.
Some key populations should be the first to take flu vaccines, according to the guideline.
They include health professionals, staff and vulnerable individuals in venues with gatherings of people, such as elderly care centers, nursing and welfare homes.
Other key populations include teachers and students in nurseries, primary and secondary schools; prison inmates and workers; citizens aged 60 and above who stay in their homes; patients with chronic diseases and pregnant women.