Local health officials and medical professionals are urging members of the public to get their flu vaccine, as the flu virus is expected to spread like wildfire, because social distancing and mask usage have waned since coronavirus pandemic restrictions have been lifted.
Adding fuel to the fire are new Covid-19 Omicron sub variants that are circulating along with Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Hospital leaders from across the New York metro area have launched a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of getting a flu vaccine now.
“Getting your family vaccinated for flu and Covid-19 this season is especially critical given the simultaneous emergence of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. While there is no vaccine for RSV, it can become even more dangerous when compounded with other viruses like flu and Covid, especially for children,” said Sarah Ravenhall, executive director of the New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO), which is cosponsoring the campaign. “Getting your flu and Covid vaccinations can protect you from this compounding effect. It’s also important to stay home when you’re feeling sick and to seek care from your healthcare provider if symptoms persist or if you are at risk of severe respiratory illness.”
Wendy Darwell, president/CEO of the Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State, which is also cosponsoring the campaign, agreed.
“The flu and Covid-19 are two distinct infections, but the symptoms can look similar. We hope residents will take the flu infection seriously and opt for vaccination to protect themselves and their families from this contagious disease,” she said. “It’s also a good time to get the Covid-19 vaccine, if you have not already done so, or the booster, if eligible. We really hope that parents will opt to get their children vaccinated, especially for Covid-19, because the vaccination rate for this population is very low.”