Flu vaccinations in the 2023/2024 season. Who is entitled to a refund?

Flu vaccinations in the 2023/2024 season.  Who is entitled to a refund?

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to protect against influenza. Who can use them and on what terms. Check.

In Poland, the influenza epidemic season usually lasts from October to May, and the peak of incidence occurs between January and March. September is a good time to think about vaccination, although, as the National Institute of Public Health reminds, it is never too late to take a dose of a protective preparation. This can be done even during the peak activity of the virus.

Flu vaccines available in Poland

There are two types of influenza vaccines available in Poland – inactivated and “live”. The first one contains a killed virus or its fragments (proteins) and is administered by injection, while the second one contains live strains of the pathogen, but the microorganisms are not able to cause infection. These types of protective preparations come in the form of an aerosol. It is administered through the nose. Importantly, all approved influenza vaccines have been thoroughly tested before being placed on the market. Their use does not result in any serious side effects (the number of recorded adverse post-vaccination reactions, the so-called NOP, is relatively very low). Patients most often complain of pain at the injection site combined with swelling and redness of the skin. Less commonly reported reactions include headaches, joint pain, and increased body temperature.

How much do you have to pay for the flu vaccine?

In most cases, flu vaccinations are free. This is related to the new list of free medicines introduced on September 1, 2023. It will benefit infants (over 6 months of age), older children and adolescents (up to 18 years of age), as well as seniors (over 65 years of age). Pregnant women also do not have to pay for the protective preparation. However, adults who are over 18 years of age but are not yet 65 years of age and belong to the risk group (one of the preparations is reimbursed for everyone) are entitled to a 50% refund. This means that they only cover half of the cost of the vaccine, so they have to spend just over PLN 25. The prices of individual preparations may vary slightly. To purchase a vaccine with reimbursement, you must have a prescription issued by a doctor. Purchasing the protective product at full price does not require this. All you need is a prescription from a pharmacist.

Patients at risk include: after organ transplantation, people with weakened immunity, as well as patients diagnosed with one of the following diseases:

  • respiratory failure,

  • bronchial asthma,

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,

  • circulatory system failure,

  • coronary artery disease,

  • kidney failure,

  • recurrent nephrotic syndrome,

  • liver disease,

  • metabolic diseases (e.g. diabetes),

  • neurological and neurodevelopmental diseases;

Which flu vaccine is best?

Each of the flu vaccines available in Poland is highly effective. It protects against illness and possible complications that may occur after infection. These include pneumonia, sinusitis and middle ear inflammation, as well as circulatory failure, meningitis and endocarditis. Your GP will usually decide which vaccine to receive (please remember that some vaccines are only for children). It also qualifies a given person for vaccination (determines whether there are any contraindications to taking the protective preparation). The exception is adults. In this group, the examination can also be performed by a feldsher, a dentist, a paramedic, a midwife, a nurse, a laboratory diagnostician, a physiotherapist, and a pharmacist. Vaccinations are performed in medical facilities and pharmacies.

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