Editor: Clean water, antibiotics, and vaccines; the three most significant contributions that medicine and public health have made towards preventing early deaths in recent centuries. Vaccines, unfortunately, have been subject to division and controversy, limiting the number of lives they can save.
As pediatricians in the Denver area, we have seen unprecedented numbers of children this summer hospitalized with respiratory illnesses. Covid, RSV, adenovirus, and rhino/enterovirus are just a few of the viruses we are seeing land children in the hospital. With an unusual flu season approaching, we are concerned that adding another virus into the mix will be deadly for these children and our already overflowing hospitals and clinics. While we worry about Covid, the flu can be equally devastating for children, with effects including respiratory failure, lung necrosis, strokes, and even death. In addition, hospitals in the area are so full that patients are waiting hours to days for a hospital bed.
Most respiratory viruses do not have a vaccine, and children under 12 are still ineligible for a Covid shot, but there is still one important step you can take to protect your family and neighbors this year. Please get yourself and your household a flu vaccine.
—Ellen H. M.D. and Keren E. M.D., via [email protected]