December 15, 2023
This message includes updates on COVID-19 from CDC.
Respiratory Illnesses Are on the Rise. There Is Still Time to Get
Respiratory illness activity is rapidly increasing across the United States, yet vaccination rates for COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) remain low. Millions of people may get sick in the next month or two, and low vaccination rates means more people will get more severe disease. Getting vaccinated now can help prevent hospitalizations and save lives.
CDC is reaching out to healthcare providers and clinicians to encourage them to recommend all patients receive all respiratory immunizations they are eligible for. On December 14, CDC issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) advisory to raise awareness about respiratory illness activity and urge action. To increase vaccination coverage, COVID-19 vaccines are available at no cost to people who are uninsured or underinsured through the Bridge Access Program.
Respiratory illness activity is rising
COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising quickly. Since the summer, public health officials have been tracking a rise in multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), which is caused by COVID-19. Influenza activity is growing in most parts of the country. RSV activity remains high in many areas. In some parts of the country, hospital beds for children are already nearly as full as they were this time last year. If these trends continue, the situation at the end of this month could again strain emergency departments and hospitals, as it did in winter 2022-2023. Strain on the healthcare system could mean that patients with other serious health conditions may face delays in receiving care.
On December 14, CDC issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) advisory to healthcare providers and public health officials highlighting the increased respiratory disease activity occurring in the United States, particularly in the southern part of the country, and internationally. The HAN noted that low vaccination rates for COVID-19, influenza, and RSV could lead to more severe disease and a strained healthcare system for the rest of the season. These low rates can also lead to more days of missed work and school.
There’s still time to get vaccinated. Talk with your trusted healthcare provider about which vaccines you and your loved ones need to stay healthy this holiday season and into the new year. Find out more.