Flu Season and COVID-19: How to Avoid Infections This Fall

Christina Nokes will get a flu shot from Scott Kendall on the Rite Aid Pharmacy in Murray in August. 7, 2012. Doctors say this flu season could possibly be the worst within the US after Australia’s season simply ended — with 300 deaths and 1,700 hospitalizations. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

Estimated studying time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – Doctors say this flu season could possibly be the worst within the US after Australia’s season simply ended – killing 300 individuals and hospitalizing 1,700.

Kensi Graves, affiliate professor of inside drugs and chief of inpatient well being at University of Utah Health, famous that Utah has not seen flu outbreaks prior to now two years.

Australia — which the U.S. is trying to predict what the states will see — has seen an enormous improve in severe flu instances this yr. In 2021, there have been no deaths from the flu within the nation and only some hospitalizations. But this season, the nation has seen a fivefold improve in extreme instances and deaths, Graves stated.

“It makes us involved about how extreme this flu season could possibly be within the U.S.,” he stated.

This yr shall be an necessary yr to get the flu vaccine. Meanwhile, the coronavirus continues to unfold in the neighborhood, however not on the identical charge as earlier than. Flu pictures are “predictable from yr to yr,” Graves stated. The vaccine differs annually relying on which pressure of flu, however the timing is “all the time the identical.”

Doctors suggest getting the flu vaccine in September or October earlier than Halloween. According to Graves, flu season begins in October and runs by way of March.

Flu vaccines are actually out there statewide.

Graves says it is best to get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine on the identical time. But if somebody has had a extreme response to a vaccine prior to now, it is sensible to get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at completely different occasions.

Current COVID-19 safety

The main collection of human vaccines supplies immunity in opposition to COVID-19, and subsequent boosters are added to this immunity. The authentic enhancers had been directed in opposition to the unique pressure of SARS-CoV-2, famous Dr. Hannah Imlay, assistant professor of inside drugs, Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Utah Health Care.

But successive waves of various variants have swept the world, he stated, and vaccines aren’t in opposition to them both. They defend in opposition to severe sickness and loss of life, he stated. But the brand new bivalent enhancer targets present variants in addition to the ancestral pressure.

Booster vaccine availability may be discovered at vaccines.gov/search/.

People with earlier boosters are “properly protected,” Imlay stated, however immunity to any COVID-19 an infection “will wane after just a few months.”

According to Imlay, the brand new bivalent boosters are allowed to be used at the very least two months after the final dose of the vaccine, no matter what number of boosters an individual has acquired.

He stated that “spacing” the vaccine dose and an infection might assist improve safety in opposition to the illness. If you might have had a current COVID-19 an infection, it’s best to wait at the very least three months earlier than receiving a bivalent booster.

As a “basic suggestion,” Imlay stated, “You have plenty of immune priming from the an infection, you get plenty of immune priming from the final dose of the vaccine, so wait a short while earlier than you get the bivalent booster.”

However, those that are immunocompromised or anticipate to attend a serious occasion quickly might want to get the bivalent vaccine sooner.

Doctors do not but understand how rapidly immunity wears off after the bivalent, however Imlay stated they estimate six months of immunity might final. Asked if an individual ought to get the vaccine earlier than Halloween or Thanksgiving, Imlay stated he would get a booster at the very least 10 days earlier than an occasion the place publicity to COVID-19 is probably going.

Mixing and matching vaccines is ok, Imlay stated, encouraging individuals to get the vaccines which are out there to them.

Asked if he believes the pandemic is over, Imlay stated individuals will proceed to contract COVID-19 — a mean of 70,000 new instances and 500 deaths within the U.S.

“That being stated, plenty of coverage selections and decisions we have made as a inhabitants have made this actually a large public well being response to a extra persistent and endemic mannequin response,” he stated, including that the nation will proceed to see a “giant variety of instances.”

Anti-disease brokers are actually supported on the “particular person” safety stage reasonably than on the inhabitants stage, Imlay added.

He stated the state might see one other drop within the illness based mostly on modeling, however the bivalent booster might assist forestall “immune evasion” — a virus that has mutated sufficient to evade individuals’s immunity.

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Ashley Imlay covers public coverage and breaking information for KSL.com. A lifelong resident of Utah, Ashley labored as a reporter for the Deseret News and is a graduate of Dixie State University.

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