US Health Experts Urge Flu Shots To Avoid ‘Twindemic’

By Staff Reporter
Posted on 10/07/21 | News Source: Associated Press

The U.S. is gearing up in case of a bad flu season on top of the continuing COVID-19 crisis, with a plea Thursday for Americans to get vaccinated against both.

“I get it: We are all tired of talking about vaccines,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But “it is doubly important this year” to get your flu shot, added Walensky, who got her own vaccination earlier this week just as she has every year since she was a medical student in 1995. “We are preparing for the return of the flu.”

Flu cases dropped to historically low levels globally over the pandemic, as restrictions designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus helped block other respiratory viruses. But with schools and businesses reopened, international travel resuming and far less masking, there’s no way to predict how bad a flu season the U.S. might expect this winter.

But officials are worried because a different respiratory virus, named RSV, that usually attacks young children in the winter instead roared back last summer as soon as people started dropping their masks.

“Is that a harbinger of a worse influenza season? We don’t know, but we certainly don’t want a ‘twindemic,’ both COVID and influenza,” said Dr. William Schaffner of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.