Doctors urging people to update vaccinations

Vaccination rates are low as COVID-19, flu and RSV are on the rise

ROANOKE, Va. – Doctors are urging people to get their vaccinations as COVID-19, flu and RSV are on the rise nationwide, including here in Virginia.

“We know across the state, we have seen an increasing number of patients, admitted for influenza, admitted for COVID-19, and also admitted for RSV and so with all these admissions from these three respiratory conditions, it’s important to do the things that we know can prevent the admissions and one of them as we’ve talked about is vaccination,” said Carilion Clinic’s Chief of Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie.

This comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote in a Health Alert Network advisory this week about the “urgent need to increase immunization coverage for influenza, COVID-19, and RSV.”

Dr. Baffoe-Bonnie said while you can still get sick from these illnesses, getting your shot could prevent hospitalization.

“So, it doesn’t necessarily prevent you from having the infection altogether but then when you do have it, you are less likely to have that severe infection. A sniffle is better than going to the ED,” said Baffoe-Bonnie.

He also encouraged anyone who is eligible for the RSV vaccination to get that as well. He said you must be at least 60 years old or pregnant.

He said it’s concerning how vaccination rates are down nationwide.

“In fact, more recently, we typically get about 40-50% vaccination rate for influenza. That’s down to around 30% thereabouts, and this is nationwide, including Virginia, and across all age groups we’ve seen that drop in the vaccination rates,” said Dr. Baffoe-Bonnie.

Dr. Baffoe-Bonnie also wanted to clear up any myths about the vaccination. He said number one, it’s not too late to get your shots. He also cleared up another myth, which is you will actually get that illness when you get your shot.

“So when you get a vaccine and you get a fever here and there for a day or so, it’s your body reacting to and doing that dress rehearsal. So that when the real disease comes, it’s able to zap it out very quickly,” said Baffoe-Bonnie.

With Christmas right around the corner, Dr. Baffoe-Bonnie said there are other preventative measures you can take to not get sick. First, wash your hands. He also said do not go to someone else’s house or work if you are sick.

“When you gather in places we like to make sure that there is good ventilation. So if the weather permits, gathering outside is not a bad idea at all, or if you’re inside and you can open the windows and the weather permits. That’s also a good thing,” said Baffoe-Bonnie.

He even suggested wearing a mask.

“If you’re going to visit a loved one and you know, they have high risk for having severe disease if they get an infection. You can encourage them and yourself to wear a mask, especially when you’re in very close quarters for a very long time and or amongst a lot of people,” said Baffoe-Bonnie.

About the Author

Keshia Lynn is a Multimedia Journalist for WSLS. She was born and raised in Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Society from American University and a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

Recommended Videos