Learn what some doctors recommend and why
Since Americans have suffered through the pandemic, the usual suspects during flu season now include COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.
“As we head into cold and flu season, there is great concern that another ‘triple pandemic’ will occur with positivity for coronavirus, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus all rising at the same time,” said Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, medical director of infection control and prevention at Ochsner Health in Ochsner. New Orleans, Louisiana, told Fox News Digital.
But the likelihood of a “triple pandemic” may be diminishing thanks to an arsenal of vaccines to fight each one for the first time this winter.
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“As a precaution, especially for those who are immunocompromised or have underlying health conditions, it is important to get vaccinated against these viruses before the fall and winter seasons,” Baumgarten said.
So what does that mean for you?
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Read on to learn how to stay safe this winter, understanding that everyone should check with their doctor or healthcare provider to discuss the best options for them based on their individual health conditions.
As more people stay home to beat record summer heat, new strains of COVID-19 have caused a summer surge in COVID-19 infections, due in part to Americans’ declining immunity and vaccine fatigue.
Currently, the EG.5 variant, an Omicron descendant nicknamed “Eris,” is the dominant strain in the United States, responsible for 21.5% of all COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data ending on 11 September. 2.
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Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 recently increased by 16% for the week ending Aug. 26, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Despite seven straight weeks of rising numbers, hospitalizations for COVID-19 are about half compared to this time last year and about five times lower than in 2021.
“If you haven’t gotten a coronavirus booster shot in 2023, I highly recommend that you get one as soon as possible,” Baumgarten told Fox News Digital.
“There will be a reformulated COVID-19 vaccine with added protection in early October, but you should not wait to get this vaccine.”
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meets on September 12 to make recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding updated COVID-19 vaccines.
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For people who have previously had COVID-19, Baumgarten recommends waiting until symptoms go away and quarantine is no longer needed before receiving a COVID booster shot.
“A person who has been recently vaccinated, unless they fall into the high-risk groups — and it has been 4-6 months since their last vaccination — generally will not need additional vaccination,” Dr. Aaron Glatt, chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai. Southern Nassau Hospital on Long Island, New York, told Fox News Digital.
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He said each case needs to be dealt with on the basis of that person’s individual background.
“All people ages 6 months and older, with rare exception, are recommended annual influenza vaccination,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on its website.
Overall, the vaccine is 40-60% effective in preventing doctor visits when the vaccine is most similar to the strains circulating, according to the CDC.
Experts advise getting vaccinated during the months of September and October.
They also say that this way, you can build immunity before flu season kicks into high gear.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a highly contagious virus that causes lung infections, is responsible for most infant hospitalizations in the United States during their first year of life.
There is no vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus for children, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved two monoclonal antibodies, nercevimab (Befortus) and palivizumab (Synagis), to fight respiratory syncytial virus.
These antibodies work by providing “passive immunity” by neutralizing the virus before it can cause damage to the body.
Nirsevimab is recommended for infants younger than 8 months of age who are born during the respiratory syncytial virus season, which often coincides with the fall to spring influenza season.
Palivizumab is given only to children younger than 24 months who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe RSV disease.
Older adults infected with RSV can also develop life-threatening pneumonia and swelling of the small airways in the lungs known as bronchiolitis.
This summer, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first two RSV vaccines, Arexvy and Abrysvo, for individuals 60 and older, with Abrysvo also indicated for pregnant women.
The vaccine provides protection against RSV for at least two winter seasons, according to the CDC.
Six people who received respiratory syncytial virus vaccines in clinical trials developed inflammatory neurological events, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, which causes progressive paralysis of the body.
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Because the cause of these rare events was not clear, the CDC advised “shared decision making” with people’s health care providers about the risks versus benefits of the vaccine.
The CDC declares that “it is acceptable for adults to receive all three vaccines at the same time,” Baumgarten said.
It’s also a good idea to get the vaccinations at different times, she added.
“I think a certain percentage of patients should get a combination of all three vaccines – Covid, influenza and RSV – and if there’s no alternative, it’s acceptable to get them all at the same time,” Glatt told Fox. digital news.
“That may increase local side effects and perhaps even other side effects — but one has to weigh that against the possibility that they may not receive the vaccination at all if you separate them over time,” he said.
Original article source: COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus vaccines all available this fall: Find out what some doctors are recommending and why