U.S. Influenza Season Arrives: Call for Everyone to Get (Another) Fresh Jab
The U.S. influenza season has arrived with hospitalizations rising and two child deaths reported, sparking the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to call for a mass vaccine campaign against the traditional winter malady.
“This is setting itself up to be more of a normal flu season,” said Lynnette Brammer, who tracks flu-like illnesses for the CDC.
The childhood deaths, Brammer told AP, are “unfortunately what we would expect when flu activity picks up. It’s a sad reminder of how severe flu can be.”
During last year’s unusually light flu season, one child died. In contrast, 199 children died from flu two years ago, and 144 the year before that.
Army veteran William Craig waits to see if he has a reaction after receiving a COVID-19 booster vaccine and an influenza vaccine at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital on September 24, 2021 in Hines, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
According to the AP report, the most intense flu activity is in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., and the number of states with high flu activity rose from three to seven.
In CDC figures released Monday, states with high flu activity are New Mexico, Kansas, Indiana, New Jersey, Tennessee, Georgia and North Dakota.
Some 2,500 cases from clinical tests nationwide were reported for the week that ended Dec. 11. That number is typical for this time of year, but it also represents a level of cases that has not been seen since before the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Timesreports.
Last year’s break from the flu made it more challenging to plan for this year’s flu vaccine. So far, it looks like what’s circulating is in a slightly different subgroup from what the vaccine targets, but it’s “really too early to know” whether that will blunt the vaccine’s effectiveness, Brammer said.
“We’ll have to see what the impact of these little changes” will be, Brammer said. “Flu vaccine is your best way to protect yourself against flu.”
Olivia Sandor's doctor's note read: “I believe a COVID vaccine or another influenza vaccine will endanger her health and possibly her life. I believe she should avoid these vaccines indefinitely.”
The school still rejected her request for an exemption. https://t.co/FDxFadajiL
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 24, 2021
There are early signs fewer people are getting flu shots compared with last year, according to CDC numbers. With hospitals already stretched by coronavirus and its omicron variant, it’s more important than ever to get a flu shot and take other precautions, Brammer said.
“Cover your cough. Wash your hands. Stay home if you’re sick,” Brammer said. “If you do get flu, there are antivirals you can talk to your doctor about that can prevent severe illness and help you stay out of the hospital.”
AP contributed to this report