NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Doctors say the time is now to get both COVID-19 and flu protection in time for Thanksgiving.
“Definitely have members of family up to date get the bivalent booster the seasonal influenza vaccine and starting maybe two to three weeks ahead of the gathering,” Yale Medicine infectious diseases physician Albert Shaw said.
That means now. It is three weeks until Nov. 24, and the booster needs time to work up to full protection.
Shaw said that while there is still a lot of the highly contagious COVID-19 BA.5 variant in Connecticut, other variants are also taking hold.
“There’s one called BQ.1 one that may become dominant, but they’re all BA.5 derivative, so I think getting the bivalent booster is really a good idea,” Shaw said.
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that BQ variants account for 35% of U.S. COVID-19 cases, up from 23% last week and 9% two weeks ago.
The positive news, it’s still in the omicron strain, which the new bivalent COVID-19 booster works against.
The CDC estimates that so far this season, there have been at least 1.6 million flu illnesses in the U.S., 13,000 hospitalizations and 730 flu deaths — including two children.
“Definitely flu activity is starting to tick up, including in Connecticut,” Shaw said.
According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s website, there have not yet been any flu deaths in Connecticut, but the trends are going up steadily, with 247 cases just this week.