By Dennis Thompson
THURSDAY, Oct. 1, 2020 (HealthDay Information)
Even with a probable looming “twindemic” of influenza and COVID-19, about 2 in five U.S. older people do not system to get a flu shot, a new survey demonstrates.
Only fifty nine% of older people surveyed said they will get the influenza vaccine all through the 2020-2021 flu season, according to results unveiled Thursday by the Nationwide Foundation for Infectious Disorders.
That’s up a little bit from the fifty two% who prepared to get a flu shot in 2019, but nowhere around plenty of to stave off the probable for overlapping flu and COVID-19 epidemics, said Dr. William Schaffner, the NFID’s healthcare director.
“We in the infectious sickness local community have been talking about a possibly ‘double-barreled’ respiratory virus season, when flu and COVID-19 converge,” Schaffner said. “There is certainly a serious hazard that even if we only have a reasonable flu season, we could be in for a rough handful of months forward.”
The widespread reluctance to get the flu shot is puzzling, he said, simply because other results from the NFID survey exhibit that Us residents do know the stakes this flu season:
- 68% agree that the flu vaccine is the greatest preventive evaluate against flu-associated deaths and hospitalizations, up from 61% in 2019.
- 28% say the COVID-19 pandemic has manufactured them more very likely to search for out the flu shot.
- The percentage of individuals who assume flu pictures are ineffective has plummeted to 34%, down from 51% a 12 months in the past.
But a important quantity of individuals at optimum hazard for starting to be very seriously ill and dying from possibly influenza or COVID-19 system to skip a flu shot this 12 months, the survey confirmed.
“Flu can exacerbate fundamental conditions and guide to lifetime-threatening problems like coronary heart assault, stroke, everlasting physical decrease, pneumonia, hospitalizations and even loss of life,” said Dr. Federico Asch, an assistant professor of cardiology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. “People with diabetic issues or coronary heart sickness are most susceptible and have to have the additional safety to their immune procedure.”
Asch famous that experiments have shown that older people with coronary heart sickness have a sixfold elevated hazard for coronary heart assault in just a 7 days of receiving the flu. The hazard of flu-associated hospitalization for older people with diabetic issues is also 6 periods larger, and older people with diabetic issues are 3 periods more very likely to die of flu-associated problems.
Nevertheless, 22% of individuals in significant-hazard groups for flu-associated problems system to skip the flu shot this 12 months, the survey demonstrates.
Black individuals are far more reluctant than many others to get vaccinated, survey results discovered. About 62% of Black older people said they were possibly not certain or do not system to get a shot. In distinction, fifty nine% of white older people and 65% of Hispanic older people said they will get the shot.
The U.S. Centers for Disorder Regulate and Prevention approximated that about fifty two% of individuals six months and more mature were vaccinated all through the 2019-2020 flu season.
Very last season, flu vaccines prevented 7.five million circumstances of flu, 3.7 million flu-involved healthcare visits, one hundred and five,000 hospitalizations and six,three hundred deaths, the CDC said.
It estimates there were 38 million circumstances of flu very last season, along with 18 million associated healthcare visits, four hundred,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths.
People must go get their flu shot now, Schaffner said.
“October is the golden month. Let’s do that appropriate now,” he said. “Let’s not procrastinate.”
The flu shot is the greatest way to keep away from a twindemic, but the other measures that have been place into location could also support, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disorders.
Very last flu season ended abruptly, weeks previously than usual simply because of quarantine measures instituted at the commence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC has noted.
“Methods to stop the flu and COVID-19 overlap drastically,” Fauci said. “We do not want people two conditions together, but some of the fantastic news is that the generally practiced general public health and fitness measures are fantastic for equally of these.”
Individuals measures consist of putting on masks, social distancing, averting indoor gatherings, typical hand-washing, and not touching your eyes, nose and mouth, he said.
The Southern Hemisphere, exactly where flu season operates from April by way of August, demonstrates the probable affect of these protective measures.
“Simply because the Australians in the Southern Hemisphere did numerous of these things, they had a really, really light-weight flu season,” Fauci said.
Regretably, the United States is coming into the flu season all through an ongoing drive to reopen educational institutions and corporations shuttered all through the COVID-19 pandemic, famous Dr. Daniel Jernigan, director of the Influenza Division at the CDC’s Nationwide Middle for Immunization and Respiratory Disorders.
“I do not assume we can depend on the important lower that we observed in the Southern Hemisphere, simply because I assume we will be seeing some lessening of some of people constraints in the United States,” he said. “We just have to be on guard and take flu out of equation this 12 months by receiving the vaccine.”
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Sources: William Schaffner, M.D., healthcare director, Nationwide Foundation for Infectious Disorders Federico Asch, M.D., assistant professor, cardiology, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. Anthony Fauci, M.D., director, U.S. Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disorders Daniel Jernigan, M.D., M.P.H., director, Influenza Division, U.S. Centers for Disorder Regulate and Prevention, Nationwide Middle for Immunization and Respiratory Disorders