ASK AN EXPERT: Which winter shots should you get in Czechia?

Doctors recommend scheduling your vaccinations now before the outbreak of the respiratory disease season. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 23.10.2023 19:02:00 (updated on 24.10.2023) Reading time: 4 minutes

With the onset of fall and winter, health experts stress the importance of vaccination against Covid-19 and influenza. Combining these vaccines is vital for safeguarding against seasonal illnesses.

Ass. Prof. Mariana Wohlfahrtova, Ph.D. is a general practitioner and nephrologist at Concierge Medicine Europe. She advised us on how and where to get vaccinated against seasonal illnesses.

“Though vaccination strongly protects fragile patients, a huge gap exists between recommendations and reality. In the Czech Republic, only 4 percent of patients annually receive flu shots on average. The primary cause of undervaccination in high-risk groups is a lack of confidence in vaccine efficacy/safety and prevalent myths, despite documented benefits in reducing health risks,” said Dr. Wohlfahrtova. 

Here’s what you need to know about the vaccines available against flu, Covid, and other winter illnesses in Czechia:

Flu (Influenza)

Annual influenza vaccination is crucial for reducing flu-related morbidity and mortality. It accelerates recovery and lowers the risk of severe infection and chronic disease progression commonly associated with the flu. It is recommended for everyone, with a special focus on those over 60 and individuals with chronic illnesses. Ideally, vaccination should occur before the flu season starts, but it's recommended from October to December. For individuals over 60, free vaccinations are available. Those in this age group are advised to opt for the more potent EFLUELDA® vaccine, offering enhanced protection and partial coverage for those over 60, while full coverage is provided for seniors over 65.

“Of course, no vaccine is 100 percent effective, but the application of the vaccine ensures that vaccinated persons can experience a milder course of the infectious disease. In addition, the patients vaccinated against flu are also partially protected against other respiratory infections.”

Ass. Prof. Mariana Wohlfahrtova, Ph.D.


Public health officials advise an annual Covid-19 booster shot, akin to the flu vaccine, to be taken prior to winter. This is especially important for high-risk groups like seniors, immunocompromised individuals, and those with chronic conditions. While previous infections and vaccinations offered immunity, it diminishes with time. Even if previously infected, vaccination is beneficial. A monovalent vaccine targeting the emerging XBB.1.5 variant is now accessible in the Czech Republic, covered by insurance. Covid and flu vaccines can be administered together or with a two-week interval for safety.

Discuss vaccination with your doctor: Concierge Medicine Europe's doctors and nurses strongly advocate vaccination for their clients, prioritizing prevention over illness treatment. They emphasize the significance of vaccination during check-ups and through email communications, stressing its importance in safeguarding against seasonal respiratory infections. They take time to address questions and promote preventative vaccines by explaining that the benefits outweigh the risks. By emphasizing vaccination as a proactive approach rather than waiting for a severe infection, they contribute to their patients' overall health through informed discussions of this crucial public health matter.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus)

A new vaccine for the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is now available in the Czech Republic for individuals aged 60 and older. RSV, a common winter virus, poses serious risks to seniors. This single-dose shot is administered through an arm injection. Long-term efficacy and the necessity for boosters are still under observation since the vaccine was recently introduced. It can be given year-round but is most effective when received before winter. The cost, at approximately CZK 5,000 per dose, may pose a barrier as the vaccine is not covered by insurance. However, some policies offer reimbursement from preventative funds. Vaccination holds promise in protecting vulnerable adults from severe RSV illnesses during seasonal respiratory infection surges.


Streptococcus pneumoniae can lead to dangerous infections such as pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis. Given the flu's potential to create conditions for pneumococcal superinfections, it is advisable to receive pneumococcal vaccination alongside flu shots. These vaccines protect against 13 to 20 serotypes of pneumococcal bacteria. While the 13-valent Prevenar 13 is provided for high-risk groups over 65, institutionalized individuals, and those with chronic conditions like diabetes or immunodeficiencies, the 15- and 20-valent versions are not covered yet.

A single dose of Prevenar 13 is administered by doctors for prevention, and the necessity of future revaccination remains to be determined. Getting vaccinated is crucial in preventing severe pneumococcal complications, especially when influenza activity is high.

ABOUT THE EXPERT Ass. Prof. Mariana Wohlfahrtova, Ph.D. is a general practitioner and nephrologist at Concierge Medicine Europe. She has worked at major hospitals in the Czech Republic and the U.S. She earned a Ph.D. from Charles University and is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine there. She advised us on how and where to get vaccinated against seasonal illnesses. In 2013 she was a Research Fellow at the Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, Transplant Center, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

This article was written in association with Concierge Medicine. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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