GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With the colder seasons quickly approaching and kids back in school, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is predicting a “tripledemic” similar to last year.
The “tripledemic” includes RSV, the flu and COVID-19.
As we make our way into the colder months, federal health authorities and local doctors in West Michigan are urging people to stay up-to-date on their vaccines.
“Every year, we have an annual influenza vaccination that’s available,” said Russell Lampen, an infectious disease physician at Corewell Health. “That’s a vaccine that gets tweaked every year to make sure that it matches the strains that are circulating.”
However, the flu shot isn’t the only vaccine doctors are recommending. Lampen said people should also consider getting their COVID-19 vaccine before we head into the winter months.
“This year, we also have an updated COVID vaccine,” he said. “So, there is a new COVID vaccine that can be given. The plan appears to be that there will be an annual COVID vaccine available in the fall, that’s again, going to best match the circulating strands that are out there.”
Lampen said since temperatures have dropped, hospitals are seeing an uptick in patients with COVID-19.
“That’s likely because kids are getting back in school, people are coming back inside, coming back from their summer vacation,” he explained. “Over the course of the summer, at Corewell West, we had about seven to 10 patients admitted throughout our hospitals. That’s bumped up to about 40 patients.”
RSV is known to cause problems for infants and older adults. This year, Lampen said there’s a new injection, called Beyfortus, which is for babies under the age of 8 months to help fight the virus.
“It’s a single injection that can be given to infants under the age of 8 months, to help them get through this first RSV season without severe illness,” said Lampen.