US health experts urge flu shots ahead of season

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vaccine, covid-19

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK – The U.S. is gearing up for the flu season on top of the continuing COVID-19 crisis.

Health officials urged Americans to get vaccinated against both the flu and coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccination for just about everyone, starting with 6-month-old babies.

Flu cases dropped to historically low levels globally over the pandemic, as restrictions designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus helped block other respiratory viruses. But with schools and businesses reopened, there’s no way to predict how bad a flu season the country might expect this winter.

“We certainly don’t want a ‘twindemic,’ both COVID and influenza,” said Dr. William Schaffner of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

Options for flu shots include regular vaccines, shots that aim to give older adults a little extra protection, and a nasal spray. All offer protection against four different flu strains that global experts predict are most likely to spread this year.

If people still need a COVID-19 vaccination – either first shots or a booster dose – they can get it at the same visit as a flu shot.

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

NEW YORK – Pfizer is asking the U.S. government to allow use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11.

If regulators agree, shots could begin within a matter of weeks. Pfizer already had announced that a lower dose of its vaccine worked and appeared safe in a study of the youngsters.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech on Thursday officially filed its application with the Food and Drug Administration. FDA’s advisers are scheduled to debate the evidence on Oct. 26. Until now, the vaccine was available only to those as young as 12, and many parents and pediatricians are clamoring for protection for younger kids.

Keeping children in school can be a challenge with the coronavirus still raging in poorly vaccinated communities.

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10/7/2021 1:37:23 PM (GMT -5:00)

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