CDC Issues Health Advisory as Respiratory Diseases Surge: Vaccination and Antiviral Meds Urged for High-Risk Groups

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a “health advisory” on December 14 addressing concerningly low vaccination rates for influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and COVID-19. Warning of potential severe illness and strain on healthcare resources, the CDC highlighted the rising cases of respiratory diseases in various countries.

Emphasizing the urgency, the CDC urged healthcare providers to promptly administer vaccinations for influenza, COVID-19, and RSV to eligible patients. While tracking increased respiratory disease activity in the U.S., the CDC focused solely on influenza, RSV, and COVID-19, not adresing recent developments in China or the surge in pediatric pneumonia cases there.

Highlighting a significant surge in hospitalizations over the past month, the CDC reported a 200 percent increase across all age groups for influenza, 51 percent for COVID-19, and 60 percent for RSV. Notably, the recent rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations appeared lower in comparison to earlier peaks during the pandemic based on historical data.

The CDC emphasized the heightened risk faced by infants, older adults, pregnant individuals, and those with specific underlying medical conditions for severe COVID-19, influenza, and RSV infections. Stressing the severity, the CDC highlighted RSV as the leading cause of infant hospitalizations in the United States.

Beyond vaccines, the CDC recommended healthcare providers consider antiviral medications for eligible patients with influenza and COVID-19, especially targeting older adults and individuals with specific medical conditions.

Conversely, recent surveys indicate signs of vaccine fatigue among Americans. Findings from a health policy research group, KFF, revealed that about three-quarters of respondents expressed little concern about contracting COVID-19. The KFF also cautioned about the potential for a resurgence in COVID-19 infections during fall and winter holidays due to increased indoor gatherings, despite public indifference towards the risk of spreading or catching the virus during this period.

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