The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that the United States is facing a ‘tripledemic’ of three significant and potentially devastating illnesses hitting at the same time: cold/flu season plus peak timing for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and COVID-19 infection. Fortunately, there are ways to protect ourselves.
“We’ve never had as many tools as we have right now, stated Mandy Cohen, MD, CDC Director, in a recent interview. “The first is making sure everyone knows about these updated tools. We’ll have a new COVID booster that is coming out in the middle of September. We will, for the first time, have RSV vaccines for older adults….of course, we have annual flu shots. We have tools, and the idea is we need to use them.”.
Older adults are now encouraged to get three vaccines this year: a flu shot, a COVID booster, and one of the two new vaccines that help prevent infection from RSV. Experts are recommending that these adults, especially those at risk from respiratory illnesses, get vaccinated before Halloween.
In related news, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that beginning October 1, 2023, State Medicaid programs must provide coverage for vaccines approved for use in adult populations. Coverage includes vaccines the CDC includes on an immunization schedule or those vaccines that are recommended for routine use, including flu shots. The coverage is aimed at adult Medicaid recipients to not only reduce costs associated with preventable infections but also to prevent hospitalizations and deaths.
Click here to download a guide to the season’s vaccine recommendations for older adults.