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    Health Alert: COVID-19 and Mpox Cases Are Rising Again

    By Eduardo Morales, Ph.D.–

    According to both national and local health authorities, COVID-19 and mpox cases are again on the rise. The best information can be obtained from the CDC and your local health department websites. One likely reason for the uptick in cases is that interactions with people change starting in the fall, increasing the probability of being infected with COVID-19, mpox, colds, and flu. Also circulating is the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

    RSV is a common cause of respiratory illness in infants and young children, as well as in older adults. Each year, RSV causes lower respiratory tract disease, hospitalization, and death. There are two RSV vaccines approved for adults ages 60 years and older: RSVPreF3 (Arexvy, GSK) and RSVpreF (Abrysvo, Pfizer). Both are recombinant protein vaccines that cause the immune system to produce RSV antibodies. Both are currently approved as a single dose and were shown in clinical trials to protect against symptomatic lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV in adults ages 60 and older, with more than 80% efficacy in the first RSV season after vaccination. 

    Both the FDA and CDC have approved updated COVID-19 vaccines. Pfizer, one of the vaccine manufacturers, estimates that only 24% of those eligible to receive the vaccine will obtain it this season. Do you part, both for yourself and others, and get the new vaccine. And even if you have been vaccinated, be sure to isolate if you test positive.

    Mpox remains a health threat as well. Over the summer, even before the predicted fall uptick in cases, the San Francisco Department of Public Health reported a significant rise in cases compared to previous months. Multiple companies, including Moderna, are now working on an mRNA-based vaccine for mpox. Two vaccines are currently available and the CDC recommends that those who have been exposed to the mpox virus or who may be more likely to get it receive vaccination.

    The mpox vaccines safeguard against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. (The World Health Organization reports that 152 people died of mpox from January 1 2022 to August 9, 2023.) Get both doses of the vaccine for the best protection. Get dose one, wait four weeks, and then get dose two. You will have maximum protection two weeks after your second dose.

    Eduardo Morales, Ph.D. is a Professor Emeritus, retired Distinguished Professor, and current adjunct professor at Alliant International University. He is also a licensed psychologist and a founder and current Executive Director of AGUILAS, an award-winning program for Latinx LGBTQ+. Of Puerto Rican decent, he has received numerous distinguished awards and citations, including being named a Fellow of 12 divisions of the American Psychological Association.

    Nuestra Voz
    Published on September 21, 2023