The CDC Just Released a New Warning About Vaccines
With the world's hopes placed on a vaccine that will prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDC wants to make sure you don't forget about the vaccines that already exist for other diseases—ones you sorely need to prevent the severity of the coronavirus itself.
"Although stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders have resulted in decreased routine immunizations, the CDC is stressing the importance of continuing vaccinations, especially for the upcoming influenza season," reports pharmacy journal Drug Topics. "Influenza vaccination will be paramount to reduce the impact of respiratory illnesses in the population and resulting burdens on the health care system during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, CDC said in its updated Interim Guidance for Immunization Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic."
Immunization is "Essential"
The guidance references the fact that many folks have shifted to telemedicine, and may not be seeing doctors in person. "The COVID-19 pandemic has caused healthcare providers to change how they operate to continue to provide essential services to patients," the agency writes. "Ensuring immunization services are maintained or reinitiated is essential for protecting individuals and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks and reducing the burden of respiratory illness during the upcoming influenza season."
They give the following advice to medical professionals:
- Deliver vaccines safely during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Administration of vaccines is an essential medical service.
- Assess the vaccination status of all patients across the life span at every health care visit.
- Administer routinely recommended vaccines to children, adolescents, and adults (including pregnant women).
- Delay vaccination for persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
- Follow guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in health care settings.
- Encourage vaccination at the patient's medical home.
- Implement effective strategies for catch-up vaccination.
- Communicate with patients/families about how they can be safely vaccinated during the pandemic.
The CDC stresses that these immunizations are essential for preventing an outbreak on top of the COVID-19 outbreak.
"Efforts to reduce transmission of COVID-19, such as stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders, have led to decreased use of routine preventive medical services, including immunization services," they write. "Ensuring that routine vaccination is maintained or reinitiated during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential for protecting individuals and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks. Routine vaccination prevents illnesses that lead to unnecessary medical visits, hospitalizations and further strain the healthcare system."
The Flu Shot is Key
They say it's particularly important for you to get your flu shot this year. "For the upcoming influenza season, influenza vaccination will be paramount to reduce the impact of respiratory illnesses in the population and resulting burdens on the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic," says the CDC. "Communicating the importance of vaccination to patients and parents/caregivers as well as the safety protocols and procedures outlined in this guidance can help provide reassurance to those who may otherwise be hesitant to present for vaccination visits."
So be sure to get your flu shot. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.