COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – RSV, the flu and COVID-19: it’s the triple threat that is unfortunately expected in the fall and winter seasons. This year, however, people are more prepared than years past.
If an individual falls into a certain age group, they may be rolling up their sleeve for three vaccines at once. A new COVID booster, a flu shot and for those over 60, a new RSV vaccine.
“For some individuals, it will be recommended they actually receive three different vaccines for three different respiratory viruses,” infectious disease specialist for OhioHealth Dr. Joseph Gastaldo said. “RSV is thought of mostly as a viral infection that infects a lot of younger kids and infants and that is indeed the case. But for adults, on average, there are about 100,000 hospitalizations a year from RSV and approximately 10,000 deaths a year from RSV.”
One of those shots, the new COVID booster, is still waiting on FDA approval and CDC recommendation.
This year there will be a difference. The pandemic emergency federal funding, that in the past made the COVID shot free, is gone.
“What we don’t have clarity on is, in the context of health care equity, how will the vaccines be distributed to those who have lower socioeconomic class status?” Gastaldo said.
It’s a question many have faced before.
“Even before COVID-19, we’ve recognized that there were healthcare disparities with influenza, minority communities are less likely to get the flu shot and as a result, they have more severe outcomes from influenza. And that was indeed the case with COVID-19,” Gastaldo said.
If there is a cost, multiple people in Columbus said it was worth it.
“I mean, to me, it’s no different than if I had to pay for the flu vaccination,” Columbus resident Derrick Smith said. “Our civilization has grown to a level where we can withstand a lot of things and it ruined our world three years ago, and now we’re back to back to normal. So yeah, I’m all for anything that keeps us from going back to what we dealt with in 2020.”
Columbus visitor Donna Gibson said the vaccine is something she would consider paying for.
“Obviously don’t know how much it costs yet. But if I can afford to pay for [the vaccine], I’m sure more than what other people can afford to pay for,” Gibson said. “So, if I can extend that branch to others, obviously, to keep us all safe and healthy that’s the only way to look at it I think.”
Right now, it’s a waiting game on if there will be a cost and what the recommendation will be for the next round of COVID boosters.