In March, as coronavirus widened its global sweep, one health statistic quickly flattened: influenza cases. In the Southern Hemisphere, flu season would have been just taking off, but cases were virtually nonexistent. “Never in my 40-year career have we ever seen rates … so low,” says Greg Poland, an influenza expert at the Mayo Clinic. Although researchers need to study the reasons further, several told Scientific American that coronavirus prevention measures—handwashing, mask wearing and social distancing—are working against flu transmission. If those measures continue, Poland says, countries could see the most dramatic drop in influenza cases in modern human history. U.S. health experts still recommend flu shots, however, because not everyone in the country is observing measures to contain the virus and because COVID-19 could perhaps be more threatening in
GENEVA (Reuters) – Some northern hemisphere countries are having trouble obtaining additional flu vaccines amid increased demand, but health workers and the elderly should be prioritised in case of any shortages, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
With official warnings of a potential “twindemic” as COVID-19 surges in Europe just ahead of the flu season, the WHO is recommending that people get a seasonal flu vaccine to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed. But some countries appear not to have enough for everyone, it said.
“Some countries are having trouble sourcing additional vaccine,” Ann Moen, WHO chief of influenza preparedness and response, told a U.N. briefing in Geneva, declining to name any.
“Whoever has extra flu vaccine let us know,” she said, half-joking, at the end of the briefing.
In the event of shortfalls, countries should prioritise five groups and especially health care workers and