Stamford Advocate

125k flu vaccines given to Connecticu­t children so far

- By Jordan Fenster

More than 125,000 flu doses have been given out to people under 18 in Connecticu­t so far this year, according to state data.

“So far in 2021 we have distribute­d 125,840 flu doses compared to 155,730 at the same point in 2020,” DPH spokesman Chris Boyle said by email.

That is on par, Boyle said, with last year. “We are still very early in the flu distributi­on process,” Boyle said.

“We are confident that by the end of the flu season in the spring, our distributi­on numbers will be consistent with past years,” he said.

It’s so early in the season, in fact, that adult flu vaccinatio­n data is not yet available. Pediatric vaccinatio­ns, however, are distribute­d through the Connecticu­t Vaccine Program, so those inoculatio­ns can be tracked.

“Informatio­n on 19 years of age and older comes from (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) data collection at various points during the influenza season and since flu data collection does not start until October, no data from CDC is currently available,” Boyle said.

The number of distribute­d flu vaccines can vary significan­tly due to “a variety of factors,” Boyle said. One factor is how many vaccines doctors are provided.

Boyle said there was “a renewed focus by our program to ensure that providers are only ordering enough flu doses to meet their current office needs as opposed to in years past where some providers would order enough flu doses for the entire flu season.”

Scott Roberts, associate medical director for infection prevention at Yale New Haven Hospital, said he had little concern over conflicts between the flu vaccine and the COVID vaccine.

“A common question that comes up is can you get both vaccines at the same time,” he said. “It does appear that yes, you can.”

The FDA is expected to rule soon on allowing children aged 5 to 11 to get vaccinated against COVID, and Roberts said vaccine providers are hoping to get

Scott Roberts, associate medical director for infection prevention at Yale New Haven Hospital, said he had little concern over conflicts between the flu vaccine and the COVID vaccine.

both vaccines done at the same time.

“We're seeing if we can bundle those two vaccines into the same visits,” he said. “We definitely don't need added dangers out there right now, especially with COVID circulatin­g. We don't need a second virus circulatin­g that's going to increase hospitaliz­ations, worsen patient outcomes. So we are actively working to communicat­e a flu vaccine strategy.”

Connecticu­t, like much of the country, has seen few to no confirmed cases of flu this year.

“Connecticu­t's had only a very small handful of cases,” Roberts said.

Last year, too, was largely flu-free — owing, experts said, to increased use of masks, better hygiene and social distancing. Roberts, among other public health experts, had predicted a bad flu season this year.

“I would have predicted a very bad flu season this year,” he said. “But my prediction­s have been wrong before. “So, we'll see. But I think, right now, I'm cautiously optimistic, since it's still very low.”

 ?? Hearst file photo ?? A variety of flu vaccines refrigerat­ed at the CVS Health’s MinuteClin­ic in Houston.
Hearst file photo A variety of flu vaccines refrigerat­ed at the CVS Health’s MinuteClin­ic in Houston.

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