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Masks reduced immunity against flu virus: Dr Jacob John

The doctor insists just like COVID vaccine shots, flu shots must be made mandatory for senior citizens and those living with co-morbidities.

VELLORE: The present outbreak of the flu was due to a large section of the Indian population lacking immunity to the influenza virus, said noted virologist Dr T Jacob John on Wednesday.

“We were wearing masks for two-plus years due to the pandemic. It protected us from COVID-19, but it also compromised our immunity. That’s why, as soon as the public became relaxed about wearing masks, they fell prey to the influenza virus, and it spread,” he explains.

The doctor insists just like COVID vaccine shots, flu shots must be made mandatory for senior citizens and those living with co-morbidities.

“In India, we do not take flu shots seriously though it’s readily available. In countries like USA and Australia, though initially those above 60 years were advised to take the vaccine, today anyone above 18 years takes the annual flu shot especially since the flu virus was one of major causes of death among the elderly,” he points out.

Stating that the virus is not going to wane soon, he says: “The flu season is only just starting and coincides with both the southwest and northeast monsoons when it peaks.”

He also urged the public to take the innumerable vaccine camps organised by the State government seriously to combat the present influenza outbreak.

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