What will this winter look like?: What Health Experts are saying and what you should know

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 3:18 PM EDT
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(WYMT) - What will this upcoming Winter look like?

It is a question people are asking and health care providers are working to answer.

Almost one year ago, our country experienced a Winter season like no other.

“That was tough,” said Chief of Infectious Disease at ARH and MCHC Dr. Fares Khater. “You know as an infectious disease physician seeing so many cases of the same illness together as a cluster and seeing so many sick patients at the same time is devastating.”

While this was a time when COVID-19 vaccines started to first roll out, things are now starting to look up.

“As far as the country, last statistics I saw was we’re about 67% vaccination,” he said. “As a state, we’re reaching about 60% plus vaccination. So we’re doing better, but we still have … still have a long ways to go.”

As we approach this Winter, children between the ages of 5 and 11 may soon be eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.

“So until the emergency approval comes through, we’re waiting,” said Pediatrician at Primary Care Centers of Eastern Kentucky Dr. Molly O’Rourke. “We’re not making any plans until we know for sure because we want to make sure the kids get it safely.”

While this is still up in the air, both Dr. Khater and Dr. O’Rourke encourage people to stay safe this Winter.

“Let’s say we get the masks a way with in the Winter. It’s an opportunity for the flu virus to spread. That’s why you should be protected,” said Dr. Khater. “So heading into the winter, get your COVID-19 vaccine. Get it over with. Get your influenza shot or flu vaccine and then follow your state and federal recommendations for the mask.”

In the meantime, they hope people will consider getting their shot of hope.

“I’ve seen good results. I haven’t had any kids with any side effects or reactions to the vaccine,” said Dr. O’Rourke. There’s a risk but technically there’s a risk with every vaccine.”

Dr. Khater said, depending on what the FDA Advisory Committee decides in their meeting Tuesday about vaccination of children between the ages of 5 and 11, they will meet with CDC Advisors on November 2nd and 3rd.

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