- The flu is unpredictable. The panelists emphasized in a recent event that the best way to protect themselves and others in the community is to get the flu vaccine.
- Last flu season, due to wearing masks and keeping body distance, very few people contracted the flu.
- This means that during this flu season, fewer people are immune to flu strains.
Experts warn that this flu season may be bad.
One reason is that throughout the 2020-21 flu season, the reported flu activity in the United States is at a historically low level, so the population’s immunity to flu may be lower than usual.
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) hosted a press conference today to emphasize the need to vaccinate for influenza and pneumococcal disease before the potentially severe 2021-22 flu season.
The flu is unpredictable. During the event, the team members emphasized that the best way to protect themselves and others in the community is to get the flu vaccine.
Coupled with the relaxation of COVID-19 mitigation measures such as wearing masks and maintaining physical distance in many states in the United States, health experts suspect that this year’s flu cases will increase significantly compared to last year.
The meeting was chaired by Dr. William Schaffner, Medical Director of NFID. He and members of the conference team emphasized the importance of annual flu vaccination.
A recent survey conducted by NFID found that 44% of American adults are unsure or do not plan to get the flu vaccine this season.
The survey also found that a quarter of high-risk adults do not plan to be vaccinated. Many people in this group think that the injection is not effective or necessary because they have never contracted the flu.
The flu vaccine is indeed effective, but the effect varies from season to season, depending on the circulating flu strain. Schaffner said the lens did a good job of keeping people away from the hospital.
“Even if influenza vaccination cannot completely prevent infection, it can reduce the duration and severity of the disease and prevent serious complications, including hospitalization and death,” Schaffner said.
This injection is especially important for high-risk groups, including children under 5 years of age, adults 65 and older, people with underlying health problems, and pregnant women.
Everyone 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine.
Schaffner also talked about the need to be vaccinated against pneumococcal disease, which is a serious complication of influenza.
Ask your doctor about the pneumococcal vaccine, because many seniors and high-risk adults are eligible for the vaccine but are not aware of the disease.
Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), attended the conference as the keynote speaker.
According to Walensky, influenza activity is currently low, but we have seen the return of other seasonal respiratory viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Varensky said: “With the continuous increase in COVID vaccination coverage and the relaxation of preventive measures in certain areas, we are preparing for the return of the flu this season.”
Since last year was a mild flu season, the population’s immunity may be low, which may put the country into a severe flu season.
“This year our immunity is doubly important,” Varensky said, adding that now is the time to get the flu vaccine.
Last flu season, 52% of the population was vaccinated with flu, and the trend this season is similar.
Varensky said that during the flu season that began in 2019, 119 flu-related child deaths were reported to the CDC, setting a single-season record.
In the previous flu season, 80% of pediatric deaths occurred in unvaccinated children. Children under 5 years of age may become seriously ill.
According to panel member A. Paticchfield, RN, MS, CPNP, NFID presidential voter and retired pediatric nurse practitioners in Children Minnesota, the last thing we need is the bad flu epidemic at the top of Covid-19.
Children 6 months and older should be vaccinated against influenza. If your child is sick, please ask them not to go to school or participate in other activities.
Encourage adults in the community to also be vaccinated to build immunity and better protect young children.
If your child is between 6 months and 8 years old and has never received the flu vaccine, they will need two doses, one month apart.
If they had only received one dose of flu vaccine before, they would also need to get two vaccinations this season.
Stinchfield said that the flu started after Thanksgiving, which means it’s time to get vaccinated so you can gather safely during the holidays.
According to NFID data, only about 42% of chronically ill patients aged 18 to 49 with chronic diseases (such as diabetes, asthma and chronic lung disease or heart disease) received the flu vaccine last year.
Dr. Cedric Rutland, Chief Executive Officer of West Coast Lung, said that the flu can cause widespread inflammation of the body, which increases people’s risk of heart attack and stroke, even if they have recovered from the flu.
Schaffner pointed out that by preventing flu at the front end by vaccinating, you can not only prevent flu, but also reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
“This inflammation will spread throughout the body, as Dr. Schaffner said, these people are indeed at higher risk of myocardial infarction in the next few weeks,” Rutland said.
Last year, only 55% of pregnant women received the flu vaccine, and these people are also at higher risk of flu-related complications, hospitalization, and death.
“Every year, we see healthy pregnant women other than pregnancy get the flu, and there will be some very serious consequences,” said team member, New York obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Laura E. Riley-Presbyterian/Will Conner Er Medical Center said during the meeting.
Riley said there is ample evidence that the flu vaccine is safe during pregnancy and does not increase the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery or birth defects.
In addition, pregnant women who are vaccinated against influenza will also pass on immunity to their babies and provide protection for the first 6 months of their life before they can be vaccinated.
“We know that if a newborn is infected with the flu, the risk of death is actually quite high, so if the mother gets the flu vaccine and transfers these antibodies to the baby through the placenta and umbilical cord, the baby will be protected,” Riley said.
There are also serious ethnic differences in vaccination rates.
The vaccination coverage rate for white adults has increased, the vaccination rate for black adults has decreased, and the vaccination rate for Hispanics has remained the same.
Varensky emphasized three reasons: protect your health, protect the health of high-risk family members, and protect your community.
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) hosted a press conference today and invited a panel of experts, including CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, to discuss influenza and pneumococcal disease.
The team emphasized the need to vaccinate before it may become a severe flu season.
Due to the weakening of the population’s immunity due to the mild flu season in history last year and the relaxation of COVID-19 mitigation measures, health experts expect the flu to make a comeback.
The best way to protect yourself and others is to get vaccinated-now is the time.