Experts urge Americans to get a flu shot.
As if the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t enough, flu season is about to begin in the Northern hemisphere, blaming the already overloaded American health system for millions of more patients, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and tens of thousands of deaths.
“We want to highlight the possibility of a disaster,” says Jeanne Marrazzo, Director of the Department of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Experts call on everyone to get flu shots to take some of the burdens of health workers and hospitals.
The Centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 61,000 people die from the flu and up to 810,000 end up in the hospital each year.
Meanwhile, nearly 200,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. According to the CDC, the virus kills about 800 people a day, and this figure has remained virtually unchanged for several weeks.
Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of public health, fears that the situation will get even worse in the fall.
Although a safe coronavirus vaccine is still months away, experts urge everyone to get flu shot.
Less than half of the US adult population is usually vaccinated, and the rate is even lower among minorities.
This is partly because the vaccination does not guarantee protection against infection with the flu.
“The effectiveness of the flu vaccine in a good year is 40 to 60 percent,” said Walter Orenstein, Deputy Director of the Emory University center for vaccine research. – It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than the zero percent effectiveness you’ll get if you don’t get vaccinated.”
The vaccine helps even if it doesn’t stop the infection, said William Schaffner, a Professor in the Department of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University.
“The probability of getting into intensive care, going to the hospital, and dying is reduced,” he says.
Manufacturers expect to produce record volumes of flu vaccine this year – almost 200 million doses.