CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Local health care experts are worried that people who are tired of hearing about vaccines in what they call “vaccine fatigue” may tune out this year’s call to get vaccinated against the flu.
The American Heart Association says that a good indication of how the flu season is going to go in the U.S. is by watching what happened in Australia, and the outlook is not good.
Australia is wrapping up its winter season and had a rough flu season, which started early, according to the AHA.
Those who suffer from multiple medical issues are most at risk, according to Canfield pharmacist Dr. Christina Dascenzo.
“The CDC, American Heart Association and other health organizations recommend most people get a flu vaccine in September or October, so now is the time to get your vaccine,” Dascenzo said. “Pregnant women, immune-compromised patients, patients with asthma or COPD and many other comorbidities, including heart disease, should be sure to get the flu vaccine as these patients are more at risk for having a more difficult time of fighting off the flu, if infected.”
Vaccine rates were pretty low before the pandemic. The AHA reports that in the 2018-2019 flu season, only about 45% of adults and 63% of children were vaccinated against the flu.
“So, while you may all be tired of hearing about vaccines and not wanting to get yet another needlestick”, said Dr. Dascenzo, “I can assure you that the alternative is much worse.”
The CDC says flu can lead to bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and congestive heart failure.
Local pediatrician Dr. John Cox says babies six months and up are eligible for the vaccine, which helps with the severity and duration of flu symptoms. He said it’s extremely important for children that could have exposure at pre-school or a new baby in the house.
“Vaccines have saved lives for 30, 90 years. Ninety years of vaccine research have shown us that these things are effective. We are trying to make sure that people aren’t going to the hospital. People aren’t going into comas, and you’re not losing grandmas and aunts,” Cox said.