"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Triple dementia? What the CDC recommends for COVID, flu and RSV

October 5, 2023 – As we head into fall and winter, we’re always threatened by the specter of a “tripledemic,” wherein cases of COVID-19, flu, and RSV increase concurrently.

Leading CDC experts met on Wednesday to debate three viruses that we’re confronted with and the way we will best protect ourselves and others.

At the meeting, CDC Director Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, said clear, easy messages are of utmost importance straight away: The only strategy to protect yourself from the worst viruses this season is to get vaccinated. Everyone over 6 months of age should get vaccinated. Flu shot and updated Covid vaccination; Pregnant women and adults over 60 ought to be vaccinated against RSV. For all of those viruses, October is the very best time to get vaccinated and thus prevent future infection.

“Giving this vaccine at the same time as flu and COVID vaccines is perfectly acceptable,” said Demetre Daskalakis, MD, MPH, deputy director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). “And it's important to remember that there is a lot of overlap between the conditions that can increase the risk of flu and COVID and those that can also increase the risk of severe RSV disease.”

Review of CDCs updated recommendation list For all three vaccinations, Daskalakis said if you may have already received a dose of the previous COVID vaccine, it is best to wait about two months before receiving the updated shot. If you may have recently had COVID, that is the case The CDC guidelines sayit’s possible you’ll consider waiting three months to receive the brand new COVID vaccination.

In addition to the unique vaccination series and one dose of the updated vaccine, Daskalakis said immunocompromised people could now receive additional doses depending on their doctor's suggestion.

As for RSV in infants, Daskalakis noted that each one babies are eligible for nirsevimab, the monoclonal antibody treatment to guard against RSV. Another strategy to specifically vaccinate newborns and infants is to vaccinate pregnant women between 32 and 36 weeks of pregnancy.

For all of those viruses, experts agreed that speed is vital to treatment. Getting tested as soon as possible, getting antiviral medications like Paxlovid for COVID-19 or those for the flu, and covering up in the event you've been exposed to a virus are all vital strategies to guard others from getting infected.

Since the introduction of the updated COVID vaccine, there have been many reports from individuals who have difficulty getting an appointment or whose appointments are canceled on the last minute. Daskalakis and Nirav Shah, MD, JD, deputy director of the CDC, have addressed these issues.

“Public health distribution of vaccines is very different from commercial distribution of vaccines,” said Daskalakis, who said it took a yr of planning to arrange for the switch. Contrary to reports, he said the CDC is seeing a rise in vaccine supply each day for all providers, be they pharmacies or doctor's offices.

“Please don’t give up on the vaccine, know that the vaccine is available,” Shah said. “And please contact your doctor again, contact your pharmacist, because it is likely that they will receive the vaccine now if they did not receive it two weeks ago.”