New Season, New Protection: CDC Urges Updated COVID-19 and Flu Vaccinations

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a fresh set of recommendations for the upcoming 2024-2025 period, calling for updated COVID-19 and seasonal flu vaccinations. These newly developed vaccines, expected to roll out later this year, have been designed to brace the nation for a potentially severe fall and winter season.

According to the CDC, the updated vaccination not only is safe to get during the same visit, but also critical in safeguarding against the life-threatening risks of both diseases. Their importance is underscored by stark numbers from 2023 when more than 916,300 individuals were hospitalized due to COVID-19, and over 75,500 lives were lost to the virus. Moreover, complications from the flu claimed an estimated 44,900 lives during the 2023-2024 flu season.

The updated COVID-19 vaccine, advised for everyone six months and older, aims to combat the most recent variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus – the culprit behind the COVID-19 pandemic. Emerging from Moderna, Novavax, and Pfizer, this vaccine comes in response to two primary concerns: the mutating nature of the virus and the waning efficacy of prior vaccinations over time. The updated vaccination stands to not only restore, but also boost protection against the latest strains responsible for the majority of infections and hospitalizations nationwide. Additionally, the vaccine offers protection against the often debilitating effects of ‘Long COVID,’ a lingering condition that can develop after acute infection.

If last season’s figures are any indication, those who received the previous COVID-19 vaccine enjoyed a higher level of protection against illness and hospitalization compared to their unvaccinated counterparts. These vaccinations have been administered safely to hundreds of millions, under the most stringent vaccine safety monitoring in the country’s history.

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In parallel to the updated COVID-19 vaccine, CDC also recommends the updated flu vaccine for those aged six months and older. As the flu season looms, healthcare providers have been advised to commence their influenza vaccination planning and administer the vaccines once available. This year’s flu vaccines, trivalent in nature, have been designed to protect against H1N1, H3N2 and a B/Victoria lineage virus, with a new influenza A(H3N2) virus added compared to last year’s composition.

However, the best time for most people to receive flu vaccination still remains September and October. The CDC discourages vaccinations in July and August except in specific cases such as pregnant women in their third trimester, children requiring two doses of the vaccine, and adults aged 65 and older who have no other opportunity for vaccination in the recommended months.

CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen underscores the importance of getting vaccinated, “Our top recommendation for protecting yourself and your loved ones from respiratory illness is to get vaccinated. Make a plan now for you and your family to get both updated flu and COVID vaccines this fall, ahead of the respiratory virus season.”

In a world where change is the only constant, the CDC’s recommendation serves as a strong reminder for us to stay updated – not just with news but with our vaccines too. Let’s roll up our sleeves, America – for ourselves, for our loved ones, and for our nation.

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