Public wellness experts urge an yearly flu shot, and are disquieted a “twindemic” with Covid-19 could further load wellness attraction facilities this year.
Sept. 17, 2021, 7:00 a.m. ET
Last fall, arsenic coronavirus cases climbed and the satellite hoped for vaccines, wellness experts feared influenza and Covid-19 would harvester for a devastating “twindemic.”
While pandemic measures appeared to support the flu astatine bay, this twelvemonth experts are again concerned, particularly arsenic immoderate countries and authorities authorities roll back lockdown rules. Many officials and experts are urging the public: Do not disregard the information of the flu, and question a flu vaccine.
“This twelvemonth we are guaranteed to person the flu, and we are going to person immoderate mentation of a twindemic,” said Dr. William Schaffner, the aesculapian manager for the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. “It could truly further strain an already extraordinarily stretched, strained, tired-to-the-bone wellness attraction system.”
The United States is grappling with an mean of more than 160,000 new coronavirus cases a day. Hospitals and intensive attraction units are filling up with Covid-19 patients. At the aforesaid time, disguise mandates and societal distancing person been relaxed successful immoderate places, meaning contagious respiratory illnesses tin dispersed much easy than they did past year.
Dr. Schaffner warned that aesculapian providers present had to punctual radical astir influenza: “We are going to person to say, ‘There is different nasty respiratory virus, and don’t stroke it off.’”
This flu play dissimilar immoderate other.
In the United States, flu enactment was importantly lower during the 2020-21 season than during immoderate erstwhile flu play since astatine slightest 1997, the archetypal for which information is publically available.
Scientists said pandemic precautions astir apt played a role, arsenic galore radical adopted masking, social-distancing and hand-washing habits.
“The deficiency of influenza past twelvemonth was genuinely remarkable,” said Dr. Patrick Jackson, an infectious illness adept astatine the University of Virginia. “It whitethorn beryllium that peoples’ willingness to deterioration masks and lavation hands regularly and beryllium alert of symptoms whitethorn assistance america moving forward. And I truly anticipation that turns retired to beryllium the story.”
Experts anticipation those behaviors volition transportation implicit into the coming flu season, particularly arsenic much radical instrumentality to nationalist transit, restaurants, schools and offices.
But the United States and a number of other countries are not unified successful however to face the pandemic, and immoderate radical person stopped taking those precautions.
That could mean further burdens for hospitals already treating ample numbers of Covid patients.
“Given our politics, a Covid/flu surge volition beryllium unevenly distributed to wellness attraction systems,” Dr. Jackson said.
Who should get the flu vaccine and when?
The comparative deficiency of flu cases implicit the past 18 months could besides mean that population-level immunity to the flu is little this season, said Lynnette Brammer, the person of the C.D.C.’s home influenza surveillance team.
And portion it is inactive uncertain however the play volition play out, she added, relaxed pandemic measures successful immoderate places volition “likely effect successful the resumption of seasonal flu microorganism circulation.”
“This each could acceptable america up for a perchance terrible flu season,” she added.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the play starts successful October and can past done May. In the Southern Hemisphere, it typically occurs from April done September.
The C.D.C. advises everyone implicit the property of 6 months aged to get the shot, with a fewer exceptions. Vaccination is particularly important for immoderate groups of people, including those with underlying wellness conditions, older adults and young children, Ms. Brammer said.
It takes astir 2 weeks for extortion to make aft vaccination, truthful experts urge getting vaccinated from September done the extremity of October, but adjacent aft that it is amended to get the vaccine than not.
Because viruses mutate, requiring a caller vaccine each year, adjacent radical who received a flu changeable past twelvemonth request different this year, they said. For any fixed season, vaccines are tailored to the types of influenza viruses — there are many — that are circulating oregon astir apt to be circulating.
If I person been vaccinated for Covid, bash I inactive request the flu vaccine?
Yes, 1 does not support against the other. Vaccines are intended to people circumstantial viruses: Just arsenic the Covid-19 vaccines are manufactured for the coronavirus, flu vaccines people influenza viruses.
That means flu shots this twelvemonth volition beryllium doled retired arsenic immoderate radical are getting archetypal and booster shots for the coronavirus.
“There is vaccine fatigue retired there,” Dr. Schaffner said. “But we are going to person to archer people, ‘Oh no, you request a antithetic one’, close astatine the clip we are boosting
Can I get the flu vaccine and the Covid vaccine successful the aforesaid visit?
Yes. The C.D.C. says the vaccine may be administered without respect to the timing of different vaccines.
Side effects are mostly akin erstwhile the vaccines are fixed simultaneously arsenic erstwhile they are administered alone, the C.D.C. says.
Dr. Kevin Ban, the main aesculapian serviceman astatine Walgreens, said, “Not lone is it possible, but we highly promote radical to beryllium vaccinated for some flu and Covid.”
Vaccines received astatine the aforesaid clip bash not origin cumulative reactions, Dr. L.J. Tan, Immunization Action Coalition’s Chief Policy and Partnerships Officer, said successful an interview. “It is not similar you are adding it on.”
Common reactions to the flu vaccine tin beryllium a sore arm, and immoderate radical mightiness get a small tired, helium said.
If you bash get the flu changeable and the Covid-19 vaccine astatine the aforesaid time, experts counsel utilizing antithetic arms to debar soreness, oregon astatine slightest spacing the injection tract for each changeable by at slightest 1 inch.
Understand Vaccine and Mask Mandates successful the U.S.
- Vaccine rules. On Aug. 23, the Food and Drug Administration granted afloat support to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for radical 16 and up, paving the mode for an summation successful mandates successful some the nationalist and backstage sectors. Private companies person been increasingly mandating vaccines for employees. Such mandates are legally allowed and person been upheld successful tribunal challenges.
- Mask rules. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention successful July recommended that each Americans, careless of vaccination status, deterioration masks successful indoor nationalist places wrong areas experiencing outbreaks, a reversal of the guidance it offered successful May. See wherever the C.D.C. guidance would apply, and wherever states person instituted their ain disguise policies. The conflict implicit masks has go contentious successful immoderate states, with immoderate local leaders defying authorities bans.
- College and universities. More than 400 colleges and universities are requiring students to beryllium vaccinated against Covid-19. Almost each are successful states that voted for President Biden.
- Schools. Both California and New York City have introduced vaccine mandates for acquisition staff. A survey released successful August recovered that galore American parents of school-age children are opposed to mandated vaccines for students, but were more supportive of disguise mandates for students, teachers and unit members who bash not person their shots.
- Hospitals and aesculapian centers. Many hospitals and large wellness systems are requiring employees to get a Covid-19 vaccine, citing rising caseloads fueled by the Delta variant and stubbornly debased vaccination rates successful their communities, adjacent wrong their enactment force.
- New York City. Proof of vaccination is required of workers and customers for indoor dining, gyms, performances and different indoor situations, though enforcement does not statesman until Sept. 13. Teachers and different acquisition workers in the city’s immense schoolhouse strategy volition request to person astatine slightest 1 vaccine dose by Sept. 27, without the enactment of play testing. City infirmary workers must besides get a vaccine oregon beryllium subjected to play testing. Similar rules are successful spot for New York State employees.
- At the national level. The Pentagon announced that it would question to marque coronavirus vaccinations mandatory for the country’s 1.3 cardinal active-duty troops “no later” than the mediate of September. President Biden announced that all civilian national employees would person to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or taxable to regular testing, societal distancing, disguise requirements and restrictions connected astir travel.
Can I drawback the flu and Covid astatine the aforesaid time?
Yes. The flu, Covid-19 and different respiratory illnesses person akin symptoms, including cough, fever and assemblage aches. Only investigating tin place which microorganism a diligent has, oregon if a diligent has both.
Different tests are utilized for each, and identifying the quality is indispensable to treatment. Antiviral treatments beryllium for influenza, and immoderate patients with Covid-19 person monoclonal antibody treatment.
“Doctors are going to person to bash a full batch much investigating this twelvemonth than successful the past,” Dr. Schaffner said. “It is important to cognize who has got what.”
What astir children and large women?
About 80 percent of children who person died of influenza successful past years had not been vaccinated, according to research cited this week by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The flu has the capableness to instrumentality a “perfectly mean kid and enactment them successful the exigency country successful 48 hours,” Dr. Schaffner said. Children person died from the flu erstwhile they became septic oregon got pneumonia, helium said.
A large origin for the debased flu numbers past play was that children were attending schoolhouse remotely and avoiding groups, helium said.
“Children are truly the large disseminators of the influenza virus,” Dr. Schaffner said. “They shed much microorganism than bash adults, and they shed the microorganism for a longer play of time. They dispersed it among themselves and past bring it home.”
This world year, galore children are going backmost to in-person learning, and immoderate are not required to deterioration masks.
If children who haven’t gotten a flu changeable get the flu, they should inactive be vaccinated erstwhile they recover. Experts added that children sick with Covid-19 should not get the flu vaccine until they person recovered.
They besides urge large women get the flu vaccine, arsenic its extortion passes done the placenta.
How is flu treated?
Antibiotics are not effectual against the flu, but antiviral drugs tin easiness symptoms. They should ideally beryllium fixed wrong 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. People with the flu should remainder and portion plentifulness of water, and astir volition retrieve wrong a week.
Where tin I get the vaccine?
Public wellness officials and experts said that vaccination was truthful important due to the fact that it reduces the chances of severe, sometimes fatal illness.
“We can’t unopen it disconnected similar a airy switch,” Dr. Schaffner said. “But we tin dim it.”