The Importance of Getting Vaccinated: COVID-19, Flu, and RSV

The Importance of Getting Vaccinated: COVID-19, Flu, and RSV

Winter is approaching, which means flu season and the risk of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 and RSV are on the rise. However, this year is different because vaccines are available for all three viruses. Dr. David Banach, an infectious diseases physician and hospital epidemiologist at UConn Health, provides insight into the vaccines that will be available.

COVID-19 continues to be a major cause of serious respiratory illnesses in the United States. The FDA and CDC have approved updated COVID-19 vaccines, providing better protection against infection as we head into the winter season. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to prevent serious illness.

The latest vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech target the Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant, which is the most recent variant of the virus. It is important to note that the new vaccine will not cause COVID-19. The symptoms after vaccination indicate that your immune system is responding to the vaccine to provide protection.

It is recommended to get the updated COVID-19 vaccine if you have not received a vaccine in the last 2 months. If you have recently had COVID-19, it is advised to wait until symptoms have subsided and the contagious period is over before getting vaccinated. The new vaccine may have side effects, but not everyone will experience them.

Although there has been a decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations compared to the initial pandemic, the virus can still cause severe illness, especially in vulnerable individuals. Regular testing and vaccination are essential to protect yourself and others. In the case of symptoms, home tests can help identify infection and guide proper actions.

As for the flu, studies have shown that getting a flu vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization. It is crucial to practice regular handwashing, avoid close contact with sick individuals, cover coughs, and stay home when feeling unwell. Vaccination is the best defense against COVID-19 and flu-related hospitalization and death.

While it is difficult to predict if there will be another surge of COVID-19 this fall or winter due to various factors, such as circulating variants and population immunity, vaccinations, testing, and treatments provide hope for mitigating transmission and infection.

In conclusion, getting vaccinated is critical in protecting yourself and others against COVID-19, flu, and RSV. Vaccines are essential tools in preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths. By practicing preventive measures and staying informed, we can navigate through the upcoming virus season more safely.

Source: UConn Health

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