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Impact of COVID-19 on Influenza Virus Vaccination Coverage
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1  Faculdade Ciências Médicas de Minas Gerais
Academic Editor: Angelos Hatzakis


INTRODUCTION: Influenza vaccination is pivotal in alleviating healthcare burdens and possibly curbing COVID-19 infections due to symptom overlap. Despite previous suboptimal vaccination rates, the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic may have impacted Influenza vaccine coverage in 2020 and 2021. This study examines Influenza vaccination adherence from 2019 to 2021 at a private vaccination clinic in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, while considering demographic variables.

METHODS: Quantitative analytical study of a cross-sectional nature. Participants remained anonymous, identified solely by registration numbers to prevent data duplication. The sample comprised 36,478 individuals who sought the quadrivalent influenza vaccine at a private vaccination clinic in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, between January and December 2019 to 2021. Data, including vaccination date (month and year), age, and gender of participants, were collected and analyzed directly from the company's database, and correlations with the epidemiological variation of COVID-19 in the country during the period were established.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Over the study period, vaccination adherence showed a steady 20.69% increase, with a noteworthy peak in vaccinations occurring in April (41.9%). The 40 to 59-year-old age group (33.4%) emerged as the most prominent, comprising a substantial portion of the workforce, putting them at considerable risk of severe COVID-19 cases. Notably, our analysis unveiled a valuable correlation between influenza vaccination and COVID-19 case notifications, indicating heightened demand for immunization during the pandemic. These findings significantly contribute to our comprehension of vaccination patterns during health crises.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates a notable rise in Influenza vaccination coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Socio-educational measures and government vaccination incentives seem to have played a significant role in this increase. Nonetheless, the substantial surge observed between 2019 and 2020 is likely linked to the population's heightened COVID-19-related apprehensions.

Keywords: Influenza vaccination; COVID-19; Vaccination adherence; Demographic variables; Pandemic impact