The CDC has called for consumers to get vaccinated, talking about the urgent need for an increase in vaccination coverage in light of high rates of respiratory diseases.
This season, there have been approximately 7 million fewer adults receiving their flu shots compared to the previous virus season. According to CDC data as of November 18, overall vaccination rates stand at about 36% for both adults and children.
Vaccination coverage for COVID-19 remains low, with only 17% of adults and roughly 8% of children having received the latest shot, as reported by CDC data through December 2.
Among seniors, who face a higher risk of severe disease, about 36% have been vaccinated. Additionally, the new RSV vaccine has been administered to only around 16% of older adults aged 60 and above.
Key factors contributing to low vaccination rates include a lack of recommendations from healthcare providers, concerns about potential side effects, and issues related to time constraints or forgetfulness, as highlighted in a nationally representative survey of US adults shared in the CDC advisory.
The CDC wrote in a Health Alert Network advisory Thursday, “Low vaccination rates, coupled with ongoing increases in national and international respiratory disease activity caused by multiple pathogens, including influenza viruses, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), and RSV, could lead to more severe disease and increased healthcare capacity strain in the coming weeks.
In addition, a recent increase in cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) following SARS-CoV-2 infection in the United States has been reported.”
The CDC strongly recommends both flu and COVID-19 vaccines for those aged 6 months and older, while the new RSV vaccine is available for those aged 60 and above.
Immunization is important for preventing hospitalization and fatalities associated with respiratory diseases, particularly for those at higher risk, such as infants, older adults, pregnant women, and those with underlying conditions.
Approximately 1 in 7 adults who have had Covid-19 report experiencing long Covid symptoms, including persistent fatigue or cough, even after a mild illness.
While children are less likely to experience severe outcomes, CDC data indicates a rise in emergency department visits and hospitalizations for respiratory diseases across all age groups.