Dramatically Lower Flu Rates in Southern Hemisphere Offer Hope

Grant Boone
September 18, 2020

Not only could flu season put undue strain on an already embattled health care system, patients can contract both the flu virus and the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 at the same time, causing further complications.

And, of course, not only can you still catch the flu during this two week window, but there are plenty of other respiratory viruses running around at the same time that we don't have vaccines for. Dr. Burstein wants to remind people to continue with your protective measures against COVID 19 because that will also protect you from influenza.

Only 62% of employers are planning to issue special communications to workers about the importance of getting a flu vaccine, which Mercer called "shockingly low considering it's unclear what co-infections of COVID-19 and influenza might look like" in a statement announcing the results of its latest survey on Tuesday.

But the flu vaccine is even more important than ever given the challenges of trying to determine whether a worker has flu or coronavirus, said Deborah Roy, Falmouth, Maine-based president of SafeTech Consultants Inc. and president-elect of the American Society of Safety Professionals. There is a possibility we could experience a less severe flu season.

Also, COVID-19 and flu have similar symptoms like fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, and coughs.

During the last flu season, 7,235 cases of the flu and 7 flu-associated deaths were reported in Northern Kentucky through the end of February 2020, but this does not predict how this year's season will be, as every year is different, the health department said.

Who should get the flu vaccination?

Some forms of flu vaccine got approved only for use in adults. Pharmacies usually accept most insurance, including Medi-Cal.

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CDPH recommends the annual flu vaccination for everyone six months of age and older.

Populations have higher immunity to seasonal influenza, whether acquired naturally or through vaccines, while travel bans instituted from March interrupted the normal migration of the virus from the northern hemisphere to the south.

Infants under 6 months are too young to be vaccinated, but if their mother received a flu vaccine while pregnant, babies have partial protection after birth. For example, the recombinant influenza vaccine Flublok Quadrivalent, which does not use viruses grown in eggs, is suitable for those 18 years and older. People with some health conditions should not receive the nasal flu vaccine, so patients should consult with their doctor if they have a concern.

The ministry's effort to ensure priority groups received the vaccine "interrupted the supply to workplace providers and frustrated their scheduled vaccination programmes".

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Public Health, Delta and Menominee Counties (PHDM) RN Jenny Farnes, left, administers a flu shot to PHDM Prevention Specialist Michelle Chaillier Tuesday.

You can also get flu vaccinations from a number of semi-government and private clinics and hospitals in Qatar. Vaccines are also available at drug stores, supermarkets, and health clinics.

Recommended COVID-19 safety guidelines will be followed.

What can you glean from local health data to better evaluate your symptoms? The country recorded more than 131,000 influenza cases in the peak months of July and August past year, according to government data. If proper social distancing has been maintained and masks are worn properly, it may not be necessary to quarantine other children.

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