3 vaccines will be available this fall to battle respiratory viruses

COVID, flu and RSV are once again health concerns this year
COVID, flu and RSV are once again big health concerns this year.
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 2:16 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Fall decorations line the shelves, the pumpkin spice lattes are in your local coffee shop, and we all know what else comes with fall - the start of sick season.

This fall, there will be three different types of vaccines against the biggest respiratory virus threats: a new COVID booster, the yearly flu shot and two RSV vaccines for older adults.

State health officials encouraged Americans to get the vaccines ahead of what could be an intense respiratory season. We’re already seeing a hint of what may be to come.

In Kentucky, one school had to turn to remote learning after nearly a fifth of its students came down with COVID, strep throat, the flu and other illnesses.

“So last year, we had this overlay of flu, COVID and RSV all at the same time. So we called it the ‘tripledemic.’ And we’re really hopeful that we’ll be able to avoid that this year,” said Dr. Tiffany Kimbrough, general pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

In Central Virginia, we are still at a low level of hospital admissions and community spread for COVID. There has been, however, a jump in cases.

Right now, flu spread is also minimal in Virginia.

With kids back in school, though, cases are expected to rise from both.

“You know, kiddos do their best with covering their mouth, but unfortunately, they’re not always the best,” said Kimbrough.

Health departments advise people to wash hands regularly, sneeze or cough into their elbow, and stay home if they’re sick.

There are also vaccines. If you haven’t gotten a COVID booster, you may consider whether that’s a good fit for your family.

“And then for flu shots, usually we recommend getting those around October to prepare for the flu season and to have enough protection to get through the whole flu season,” said Kimbrough.

There’s also the expectation that pregnant women will be able to get vaccinated for RSV, which could offer their child months of protection after birth. Be sure to talk to your doctor about that.