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A Strange Start to Illness Season...

October 22, 2021  ||  by Matt Albasi

An Atypical Illness Season...

Fevers - a hallmark sign of infectious illness - typically increase this time of year. Yet this year, they aren't. During a normal illness season, fevers hit their lowest levels in mid-summer. Starting in August, when schools return to session, fevers tick up again before peaking around the winter holidays, and slowly receding during the spring. 

This year, however, fevers began rising abnormally early, in the summer, peaking at the end of August. This was likely related to the Delta wave and an early start to the RSV season. Since then, fevers have been steadily declining. This odd data point isn't cause for concern or celebration, but it does point to yet another abnormal illness season. Kinsa still projects a moderate illness season due to cold, flu, and COVID-19 circulating simultaneously, and after the anything-but-normal illness season last year, a little less fever than usual feels like a good thing.

How Is Your Age Group Faring? 

Since the beginning of 2021, children between the ages of 0 and 4 have maintained the highest fever levels of any age group. While the 0-4 age group’s levels are decreasing now — along with every other age group — they’re still elevated well above most others. Take a look at the chart below to see how your family’s age groups are faring.

Chart showing the amount of fevers in 7 different age groups

More People Now Eligible for Vaccines May Bolster Rates

This week, booster shots were authorized by the FDA and recommended by the CDC for certain Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients. They join the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was approved for booster shots last month.

If you received the Moderna vaccine, you’re now eligible for a booster shot if it’s been at least six months since your initial vaccine series and you are: 

  • Over 65 years old, 

  • An adult who works in a high-risk setting, 

  • An adult who lives in a long-term care facility

  • An individual with an underlying medical condition 

If you received the J&J vaccine, the eligibility criteria are more broad and recommended for:

  • Individuals who are 18 or older

  • Individuals who received their vaccine at least two months ago

Children aged 5-12 are close to being authorized for a modified dose of the Pfizer vaccine as well. The FDA meets to discuss the vaccine October 26, and the CDC is scheduled to meet November 2. 

With these new approvals, look out for vaccine demand to increase

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