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CDC issues new guidelines to prepare for respiratory virus season

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recently issued new recommendations to enhance preparedness for the upcoming respiratory virus season. These guidelines focus on vaccines against COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and the flu, underscoring the importance of immunization in combating these illnesses that can be deadly in certain populations.

On June 27, the CDC recommended that everyone six months and older receive the updated 2024-2025 flu and COVID-19 vaccines.

Moderna, Novavax, and Pfizer-BioNTech are expected to release the updated COVID-19 vaccines later this year to address newer variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“The virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, is always changing and protection from COVID-19 vaccines declines over time. Receiving an updated 2024-2025 COVID-19 vaccine can restore and enhance protection against the virus variants currently responsible for most infections and hospitalizations in the United States,” said the CDC.

Similarly, the 2024-2025 flu vaccines will be trivalent, protecting against H1N1, H3N2, and a B/Victoria lineage virus.

“The composition of this season’s vaccine compared to last has been updated with a new influenza A(H3N2) virus,” noted the CDC.

CDC updates RSV guidelines

The year 2023 was the first year that RSV vaccines and immunizations were available for at-risk populations including older adults, pregnant women, and infants.

On June 26, the CDC said all adults 75 and older, and adults 60-74 with increased risk of severe RSV, should get protection.

“The CDC has updated its RSV vaccination recommendation for older adults to prioritize those at highest risk for serious illness from RSV,” said CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen in a statement.

People who have received one RSV vaccine don’t need another.

Why vaccination matters

The underlying message from the CDC is clear: vaccination remains the most effective tool for protecting individuals and communities from respiratory illnesses.

“Our top recommendation for protecting yourself and your loved ones from respiratory illness is to get vaccinated,” emphasized CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen.

By staying up to date with vaccinations, people can significantly reduce their risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death associated with COVID-19, the flu, and RSV.

These recommendations come at a critical time as the world continues to navigate the challenges posed by respiratory diseases. The convergence of COVID-19, flu, and RSV during the respiratory disease season has the potential to strain healthcare resources and lead to increased morbidity and mortality.

As the respiratory disease season approaches, it is crucial for individuals to heed the CDC’s advice and prioritize vaccination. By doing so, they not only protect themselves but also contribute to the broader public health effort to control the spread of these diseases. The collaboration between vaccine manufacturers, healthcare providers, and public health authorities will be essential in ensuring the availability and accessibility of these vaccines.