During the fall season, cold weather can affect our immune system and therefore, the incidence of viral illnesses increases, such as influenza or flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).
These infections are easily transmitted by contact with other infected people through coughing or sneezing. Although their symptoms are transitory, in young children, elderly and immunosuppressed people complications can occur, requiring hospitalization with life-threatening conditions in some cases.
That is why the best option is to prevent infection through immunization.
According to PAHO, immunization is the process by which a person becomes resistant to a disease, usually through the administration of a vaccine. Vaccines stimulate the body's own immune system to protect a person against further infection or disease.
Immunization currently prevents between 3.5 and 5 million deaths a year from diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza and measles, according to WHO data.
Without a doubt, vaccines are essential to prevent and control outbreaks of infectious diseases and reduce the risk of disease by creating natural defenses against viruses.
What vaccines should you consider to get this fall?
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends getting an influenza vaccine once a year. This vaccine protects against the four most common flu viruses this season.
Most flu vaccines are given as shots in the arm, but there is also a nasal spray flu vaccine.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu shot every year, ideally during September and October.
The vaccine is available at your local health department, immunization clinics, doctor's offices, pharmacies, and some schools and workplaces.
The following COVID-19 vaccines are currently approved in the U.S.: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Novavax. The J&J/Janssen's COVID-19 vaccine has expired and is no longer available for use in the United States as of May 6, 2023.
If you do not already have the vaccine dose, vaccination is recommended to protect against COVID-19 variants.
As recommended by WHO, some people may receive additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines, such as people over 65 years of age, and people with moderate or severe immunosuppression.
In addition, new booster vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax against XBB.1.5 variant and other XBB sublineages are awaiting approval. They are expected to be ready by the end of September and available in October.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
This virus can affect people of all ages, however, it is of particular importance and severity in infants worldwide, being the most frequent cause of lower respiratory tract illness in this population.
The CDC recommends that adults 60 years of age and older receive a single dose of RSV vaccine, with previous consultation with a doctor. This vaccine can be administered at the same time as other vaccines.
In addition, the FDA approved Abrysvo, the first RSV vaccine approved for use in pregnant women to prevent lower respiratory tract disease in infants from birth to 6 months of age. The vaccine is approved for use between 32 and 36 weeks gestational age as a single intramuscular injection.
You can help us help people! Check out the clinical trials available at Alpha Research Institute. Volunteer in one of the trials and receive monetary compensation. For more information, please visit: https://www.alpharesearchinst.com/availablestudies