CDC warns providers of ‘urgent’ need to boost vaccination against COVID, flu, RSV

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning health providers that there is an “urgent need” to increase vaccinations against influenza, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). 

In an alert published Thursday, the agency cautioned that low vaccination rates, coupled with ongoing increases in national respiratory disease activity could lead to more severe disease and increased health care capacity strain in the coming weeks. 

Providers should administer influenza, COVID-19 and RSV immunizations now to patients, if recommended, CDC said. 

The agency estimates about 42 percent of children have gotten a flu shot, while national coverage for adults is about 41 percent. Less than 8 percent of children and 17 percent of adults have received a new COVID-19 shot.

Health care providers should also recommend antiviral medications for influenza and COVID-19 for all eligible patients, especially patients at high-risk of progression to severe disease such as older adults and people with certain underlying medical conditions, CDC said. 

The push to increase vaccination coverage comes amid an ongoing shortage of RSV immunizations for infants, who are highest risk of severe complications from the virus.  

Drug manufacturers will deliver 230,000 additional doses of the RSV shot for infants by mid-January for this RSV season, the companies announced Thursday. The doses are from supply originally intended for the Southern Hemisphere RSV season, which will be replenished before that season starts. 

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