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Help Prevent a ‘Tripledemic’ This Fall – Get Vaccinated

August 08, 2023

As summer winds down, colds and viruses are sure to ramp up – and this year, it’s not just the flu we have to worry about.

Experts warn that we could be facing another “tripledemic” this winter, with COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) adding to an already taxing flu season.

But can anything be done to slow the viruses?

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Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate.

From experts across the country, one message rings the loudest – vaccination is the most important tool against the looming tripledemic.

After the three viruses saw a surge in hospitalizations last year, federal health officials are recommending COVID-19, flu and RSV vaccines for much of the population. The flu was responsible for around 58,000 deaths in 2022 alone, a number much higher than usual, as COVID-19 deaths continued to roll in. And RSV wasn’t much better.

“RSV can cause respiratory illness in all age groups. It can severely affect those who are at either extreme of age, both young and old, as well as those who are immunocompromised,” says Ulysses Wu, MD, chief epidemiologist and system director for infectious diseases at Hartford HealthCare.

> Related: It’s Not Too Late to Protect Yourself This Flu Season

Stick with the most up-to-date recommendations.

The CDC recommends a flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. This is particularly important for adults ages 65 and older, children under 5 and people with weak immune systems. The RSV vaccine is not yet approved for Americans under 60.

Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax are all expected to release a new iteration of the COVID-19 vaccine for the fall. They’ll continue to target the Omicron variant, which currently accounts for roughly 27 percent of cases.

Aim to get your vaccines in September or October, before flu season takes off.

“Vaccines are always a good idea. They are a safe, effective form of preventative medicine. It’s much more prudent to prevent a disease, rather than treat a disease that was preventable,” says Dr. Wu. “All three vaccines are important.”