Aug 21, 2020

The Booster Bulletin: Your Weekly Dose of Immunization News

Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself, your family and your community from flu. A flu vaccine this season can also help reduce the burden on our public health and healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and save medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients. The more people vaccinated; the more people protected. Do your part. Get a flu vaccine this fall.

CDC recommends 3 actions to prevent flu.

1. Get a flu vaccine,
2. Practice everyday preventive actions, and
3. Take antiviral medication to treat flu if your doctor prescribes them.

This season follow these preventive actions, along with additional recommendations to prevent COVID-19.
 

During this pandemic, we remain committed to sharing news and information from local and national media about COVID-19 and immunization-related topics. Each week we’ll continue to review clips from across the U.S., from various news outlets and platforms, and bring you ten timely and relevant links.

“Coronavirus contextualized, 19th edition: Exploring, through data, COVID-19 in Nevada and beyond” The Nevada Independent  (July 24, 2020)

Welcome to the 19th installment of “Coronavirus Contextualized,” a recurring feature in which we explore some of the numbers swirling around in the time of coronavirus. Through these stories, we hope to parse the numbers, including confirmed cases of COVID-19, people tested, number of hospitalizations and deaths, and provide some context to them.

“Fact check: Flu vaccine hasn't eradicated the flu, but it has lessened the burden of the virus” USA Today (August 16, 2020)

The claim: The flu is still around, despite a vaccine. A post on Facebook claims the flu vaccine has been ineffective in eradicating the virus, despite existing for nearly eight decades. ‘We've had a flu vaccine for 78 years,’ the image reads. ‘We still have the flu.’ The black-and-white photo accompanying the text, though, is of a child receiving one of the first free polio vaccines in St. Louis in April 1955, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“'It's going to add additional stress:' Cuomo warns of difficult flu season as coronavirus spreads” The Hill (August 17, 2020)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that state health officials are ‘very concerned’ about the typical influenza season this fall, as experts fear double outbreaks of both the flu and the coronavirus…Specifically, stress on already overworked testing facilities could double during the flu season. Cuomo warns that the division in labor could produce longer wait times for the administration of COVID-19 tests.

“Please Actually Get a Flu Shot This Year” The Cut (August 17, 2020)

…Still, as Patsy Stinchfield, the senior director of infection prevention at Children’s Minnesota, and a member of the CDC’s influenza work group told the Times: ‘Hopefully people will say, “There’s no COVID vaccine so I can’t control that, but I do have access to the flu vaccine and I can get that.” It gives you a little power to protect yourself.’

“Flu vaccine now mandatory for all Massachusetts students, DPH announces” Boston Herold (August 19, 2020)

Massachusetts students of all ages will now be required to get a flu vaccine by Dec. 31 in order to attend school unless medically or religiously exempt, the Department of Public Health announced Wednesday. ‘Every year, thousands of people of all ages are affected by influenza, leading to many hospitalizations and deaths,’ said Dr. Larry Madoff, director of DPH’s Bureau of Infectious Disease. ‘It is more important now than ever to get a flu vaccine because flu symptoms are very similar to those of COVID-19 and preventing the flu will save lives and preserve healthcare resources,’ said Madoff in a statement.

“Fearing a ‘Twindemic,’ Health Experts Push Urgently for Flu Shots” The New York Times (August 16, 2020)

As public health officials look to fall and winter, the specter of a new surge of Covid-19 gives them chills. But there is a scenario they dread even more: a severe flu season, resulting in a ‘twindemic.’ Even a mild flu season could stagger hospitals already coping with Covid-19 cases. And though officials don’t know yet what degree of severity to anticipate this year, they are worried large numbers of people could forgo flu shots, increasing the risk of widespread outbreaks.

"Flu Season Could Have Even Bigger Impact in Age of Coronavirus, Doctors Warn" NBC Chicago (August 19, 2020)

The coronavirus already poses a serious threat to healthcare systems in the United States, but with the fall approaching, doctors and health officials are warning that a bad flu season could cause even greater challenges.

"Anti-vax social media can influence flu vaccines—unless family and friends step in" Medical Xpress (August 17, 2020)

In the same way a virus spreads undetected, misinformation can continue to spread. The vaccine for misinformation includes effective communication and health literacy. The more people we can get to have the skill to look at the information they consume on social media and stop and stay, 'does this make sense and is factual', the more we can inoculate the public against the spread of misinformation.

"Why is the ‘anti-vaxxer’ movement growing during a worldwide pandemic?” Financial Times (August 20, 2020)

Greer McVay insists she is ‘not an anti-vaxxer — not at all’. She is up to date with her own immunisations and had her son vaccinated when he was a child. But she fears the development of a vaccine for coronavirus is being dangerously rushed, in part to improve Donald Trump’s prospects ahead of the presidential election in November…Those who study the phenomenon say they have begun to find anti-vaccination material being shared among a far wider group of people since the outbreak of the pandemic.

“Here's how to talk to vaccine skeptics so they might actually hear you” The Hour (August 20, 2020)

As we see it, the only way out of the reopening and reclosing cycles is to convince people to get the flu vaccine in early fall – and then the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available. Right now, up to 20 COVID-19 vaccine candidates are already in human trials. Chances seem good that at least one will be available for distribution in 2021. But recent studies suggest that 35% might not want to get a COVID vaccine, and fewer than half received a flu vaccine for the 2019-2020 season.

“Trust, Fear and Solidarity Will Determine the Success of a COVID Vaccine” Kaiser Health News (August 17, 2020)

Thousands of letters stuffed with money flooded Jonas Salk’s mailbox the week after his polio vaccine was declared safe and effective in 1955. Everybody wanted his vaccine. Desperate parents clogged doctors’ phone lines in search of the precious elixir; drug companies and doctors diverted doses to the rich and famous…When a coronavirus vaccine becomes available, will it be met with a roaring ovation, like the polio vaccine, or communal yawning, like the measles shot? Or some strange hybrid of the two? 

 


Prepare, Don’t Panic. To inform Nevadans statewide, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Governor's Office have created this website to better share information and resources as it pertains to the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact within the state of Nevada. https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/

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