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Denton County Public Health: Influenza vaccination is more important than ever | News

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As the flu season is approaching during an ongoing pandemic, Denton County Public Health Director Matt Richardson said flu vaccination is more important than ever.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza activity begins to increase in October, but peaks between December and February. Health officials at the CDC and Denton County warn that both the flu and the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread over the next few months.

“Getting the flu vaccine wasn’t as important as this year,” Richardson said. “And when you are sick, go to your doctor and be tested [for the flu and COVID-19] I really understand the difference. Although the risk factors are different, everyone should be vaccinated quickly with influenza vaccine so that the spread of influenza can be minimized if this parallel global transmission of COVID-19 is a concern. Encourages to. While promoting this pandemic response, we want to minimize the effects of influenza. “

Unlike influenza, there are no COVID-19 vaccines or antivirals yet. If you get the flu, you can get treatment right away.

“It’s important — we have vaccines and antivirals,” Richardson said.

According to John Hopkins Medical College, dozens of COVID-19 vaccines are in clinical trials.

On Friday, a Pfizer representative said he could apply for an emergency license to BioNTech’s vaccine through the US Food and Drug Administration. In an open letter, Chairman and CEO Albert Bula said the submission depends on several factors, including data on vaccine efficacy. This could be until the third week of November. The FDA requires vaccine makers to provide two months of safety data for half of the study participants.

Two vaccine trials discontinued late trials Cite “potentially unexplainable” and “unexplainable” illnesses. AstraZeneca suspended the trial in September, and Johnson & Johnson suspended the trial on Monday. The two companies said they would investigate whether the study participants’ illnesses were vaccine-related.

Influenza and COVID-19 are not the same disease, but they have a combination of headaches, body aches, and coughs.

“And COVID-19, there are some nuances,” Richardson said. “The loss of taste and smell is unique to COVID-19, but most of the symptoms [between the two] It may be similar. “

Although COVID-19 is more infectious and susceptible to infection, both diseases are widespread, so it is very helpful to have both tests within the next few months. Richardson said it’s important to stay home whenever you feel sick, but it’s especially important to quarantine if your COVID-19 test is positive.

“For our vulnerable population, for our elderly, elderly, and immunocompromised, knowing the difference between COVID-19 and influenza is if caught early enough that treatment is very effective. It’s important, “Richardson said. “For vulnerable people, the difference is measurable and can have an impact …. If you have the flu and you miss it, [your doctor can] Prescribe an antiviral drug. “

For some, knowing whether it’s influenza or COVID-19 is a life-threatening problem. By Friday morning, John Hopkins Medical College confirmed that 217,798 Americans had died of COVID-19. The confirmed cases were 7,985,356 on Friday morning.

CDC is about 38 million people I had the flu in the United States during the 2019-2020 season when activity began to decline in March. About 400,000 people were hospitalized for the flu and 22,000 died.

“To summarize all of this in the most important factors, the symptoms of COVID-19 can be the symptoms of the flu,” said Richardson. “People need to be tested for influenza, treated, and tested for COVID.”

On Thursday, Richardson said he was unsure of the number of vaccines available in the community and the number of people vaccinated. The Denton County Public Health Service will report on influenza, but he said positive results for influenza are reported voluntarily, not by law.

“The test results we got are anecdotal and site-like,” he said. “We ask hospitals and clinics to report flu tests weekly to monitor their activity. We have started collecting that information. We will start reporting flu shortly. Repeat. But it’s a little different because it’s not so comprehensive. “

ZAIRA PEREZ can be accessed via 940-566-6882 and Twitter (@zairalperez).

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