A “potentially severe” flu season could be on the way, the CDC warned this week, as public health officials once again urged the public to get its flu shot.
why it matters: Americans now have reduced immunity against the flu after cases hit an all-time low last year.
- There were very few flu cases in the 2020-2021 flu season, mostly due to mitigation measures such as masking, capacity limits and social distancing.
- In the typical US, influenza causes approximately 12,000–52,000 deaths and 140,000–710,000 hospitalizations. Officials are concerned about a potential increase in flu infections and the severity of the flu that will crush the health care system.
running news: The most common reason for participants not getting the vaccine is distrust in the shot’s effectiveness at 39%, up from 34% last year, according to one new survey Out Thursday from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
- 37% of adults are very or extremely concerned about COVID-19, but only 19% are similarly concerned about the flu.
- About 25% who are at high risk for flu-related complications said they were not planning to get vaccinated this season.
- 71% of adults age 65 and older only plan to get the flu vaccine, compared with 42% of adults aged 18-64.
Between the lines: Flu symptoms can often be similar to those of COVID-19, leading to an additional need for flu and COVID testing, and isolation for any illness, especially in schools.
- The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that it has issued an emergency use authorization for the test. perkin elmer For the detection of COVID-19, influenza and multiple strains of respiratory syncytial virus.
By numbers: During the 2020–2021 flu season, the CDC estimates that 52% of the total US population 6 months and older received the flu vaccine, which is similar to coverage during the 2019–2020 season, according to the NFID.
- Flu vaccination among adults increased to 50%, with coverage higher among older adults than younger adults.
- Still, officials are concerned about racial disparities from both the flu and COVID. During the 2020–2021 flu season, white individuals had higher flu vaccination coverage at 56%, compared with 43% among black individuals, 45% among Hispanics, and 52% among other racial and ethnic groups.
what to watch: CDC will begin collecting data for its full weekly influenza surveillance report this week, and begin publishing online on October 15, CDC Director Rochelle Valensky said at a White House COVID-19 task force briefing this week.
- The NFID survey also found that 54% of US adults plan to wear masks in certain situations during flu season and 45% say they are more likely to stay home from work or school if they become ill due to the pandemic. Will go
- “This is good news, but it doesn’t change the fact that the most important thing you can do to help protect yourself and others is to get vaccinated,” William Schaffner, NFID’s medical director, said in a statement. “