Should Flu Shots Wait for Influenza's Arrival
The latest influenza data published by the U.S. CDC today collaborates recent findings announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.K.
'The current influenza surveillance data should be interpreted with caution as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has ... likely played a role in reducing influenza virus transmission,' says the WHO.
The CDC's new FLUVIEW report focused on the 2021-2022 Influenza Season and clinical laboratory data, revealing whether influenza activity is increasing or decreasing in the USA.
As of Week #35, the percentage of specimens tested (42,261) that were positive (247) for influenza was less than 1%.
Furthermore, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Mortality Surveillance data on September 8, 2022, disclosed the flu-related fatalities that occurred due to pneumonia, influenza, and/or COVID-19 (PIC).
Among the 1,769 PIC deaths reported this week, (963) had COVID-19 listed as an underlying or contributing cause of death on the death certificate, (799) had pneumonia and (7) listed as influenza.
The NCHS data indicates that current PIC mortality is due primarily to COVID-19 and pneumonia, but not influenza.
Unfortunately, the CDC has confirmed a total of (34) influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2021-2022 season.
Worldwide, numerous countries are reporting similar influenza activity.
The U.K. Health Security Agency published its Weekly national Influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report on September 8, 2022, confirming influenza positivity remains low in week #35.
And on September 5, 2022, the WHO published Influenza Update N° 427, which confirmed influenza activity had decreased or remained low in most countries during this period.
In the temperate zones of the southern hemisphere, overall influenza activity appeared to decrease further during this reporting period.
And in Oceania, which includes Australia, detections of primarily influenza A(H3N2) decreased overall.
Back in the USA, the CDC's Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity call on September 8, 2022, reviewed the 2022-2023 Influenza Vaccination Recommendations and Guidance on Coadministration with COVID-19 Vaccines.
This CDC presentation stated that providers should offer influenza and COVID-19 vaccines, administered in separate limbs during the same visit if the person is eligible.
The CDC continues to recommend most people over the age of six months get an annual flu shot.
But to maximize protection, vaccination decisions could consider when each flu season peaks.
However, the best vaccination timing advice generally comes from each person's healthcare provider.
Flu shots are administered in most clinics and pharmacies in the USA and are generally offered at low prices.
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