Medical experts, politicians and the media have been speculating non-stop about the possibility that a safe, effective vaccine for the deadly COVID-19 virus will be available — either later this year or sometime next year. But that’s still in the hypothetical category.
However, we know with certainty that seasonal influenza also kills—and there is already a safe, effective vaccine to prevent you from catching this deadly disease.
Medical personnel say getting a flu shot early may protect people from a viral “double whammy” — contracting the flu in addition to COVID-19 — this fall.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. In this context, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever. CDC recommends that all people 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine.”
The Food and Drug Administration has given CDC an Emergency Use Authorization for a new test that will check individuals with respiratory symptoms for both “A- and B-type seasonal flu viruses and SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.” Two new flu vaccines have been licensed for seniors 65 and over.
According to Virginia Department of Health statistics, updated on Sept. 3, there were 11,964 confirmed cases of influenza during the 2019–20 flu season, which typically peaks from October to March. Of that number, 4,787 Virginians died of seasonal flu and pneumonia, including six pediatric deaths under age 17.
Since the first coronavirus case was reported in Virginia in early March, there have been 128,407 cases of COVID-19, which is caused by a different virus, and 2,686 deaths, with the number of fatalities no doubt reduced due to the statewide lockdown and social distancing mandates.
However, there have been no pediatric deaths from COVID-19 in Virginia; the virus has primarily killed people over the age of 60 (89.3 percent).
The bottom line is that both influenza and coronavirus are serious and sometimes fatal respiratory infections, but flu targets the very young as well as the very old.
And although there’s still no FDA-approved vaccine for COVID-19, there is a vaccine for the seasonal flu, which is updated annually. It’s only common sense to do what you can to prevent yourself and your loved ones from contracting at least one of these deadly viral diseases.
The (Fredericksburg) Free Lance-Star
Editor’s Note: Editorials shared from other publications do not always represent the views of The News Virginian, but are offered in an effort to spread information and share different opinions.
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!