Infectious disease doctors hope yearly flu vaccine is effective

Health

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The number of new COVID-19 cases is beginning to rise across the country. Dr. James Hildreth, infectious disease doctor and President of Meharry Medical College, fears a resurgence in the fall during flu season could be devastating to reopening.

Now is the time doctors plan for the fall flu season picking the virus stain, producing the vaccine, and distributing. Dr. Hildreth said COVID-19 has slowed down this year’s process.

One of the consequences of this total concentration on COVID-19 has been some of the resources and attention we’d normally be putting on the flu vaccine has been diverted. But, I think the CDC has ensured that they feel confident there’s going to be enough vaccines.”

While there may be enough to go around, given that the vaccine effectiveness can vary from year-to-year, there’s no way to really know the level of protection.

“With the flu vaccine,” said Dr. Hildreth, “You make predictions about which virus is going to be the one circulating. If you make a good prediction, things turn out good. If you don’t make a good prediction, there can be challenges.”

Infectious diseases doctors are watching COVID-19 case numbers closely, as new infections slowly rise across the country following Memorial Day activities. And in a few weeks, we will know the impact of recent rallies.

“My biggest concern is if flu outbreaks are significant, and we have this major resurgence of COVID-19, there’s going to be an even higher demand for ICU beds to take care of people,” said Dr. Hildreth, “And, the worst would be not having enough resources to care for both COVID-19 patients and as well as flu patients. That’s a real possibility.”

Dr. Hildreth acknowledges social distancing is getting old, but he encourages everyone to continue wearing masks and keeping a safe distance between others to help control the spread.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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