Recently, the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has reported the highest number of vaccines that have been distributed across the country, making this year’s flu shot rates much higher than before. This has also led to surprisingly low cases of flu in this year’s season.
In total, around one hundred and eighty-eight millio nvaccines have been shipped around the US. More adults have gone and recevied a flu shot than ever before. The increase has been unexpected considering many people have been skipping vaccination previously due to widespread fear of contracting COVID-19.
However, as the year’s flu season came nearer, more people went out to pharmacies and hospitals to get their vaccination as research highlighted the benefits of getting a vaccine which included prevention of coronavirus infection.
Additionally, a number of studies have also reported that getting a flu shot may also reduce the chances of developing severe form of COVID-19 as well as other complications associated with it.
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Along with getting vaccination, other factors that have stopped flu from spreading include the preventive measures recommended for lowering chances of contracting SARS-CoV-2.
Guidelines from the CDC, which include maintaining distance, avoiding physcial contact, staying indoors, wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and not going to crowded public spaces do not only prevent COVID-19 but also other viral infections like flu.
Secondly, the closing of schools also makes a big difference in transmission of H1N1 virus. Previous research on flu has shown that children play a big role in spreading the virus as they transmit it to their classmates, parents, siblings, and other family members.
In comparison with adults, children are also more likely to be able to spread the virus for a longer time even after recovery.
Hence, a combination of all of these factors have led to a significant drop in the cases of flu in this year’s season. However, health experts state that this does not mean that it cannot spread in the coming weeks as well.
It is highly likely that precautions for coronavirus infection have also helped with controlling the spread of flu but it also means that the rise of pandemic fatigue and people not taking preventive measures will contribute to both COVID-19 and flu.
If the number of cases of COVID-19 go up, there is a chance flu will also spread again, which will then lead to a ‘twindemic’ of both the infections.
Also, it should be noted that even though vaccination rates have gone up, certain minority communities may not have had significant improvements. For instance, only thirty-three percent of non-Hispanic Black Children have received a flu shot this year.
Therefore, even if flu does not spread overall, it may still be prevalent in minority groups especially those which are from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
To avoid transmission of flu and keep the cases low in all groups, following the earlier precautions for COVID-19 is enough. By doing so, both the cases of coronavirus and flu can be avoided and death rates can also be brought down.