Vaxx to the Future

Season 1 Episode 94 TIP News for Dec. 14, 2021

December 14, 2021 The Immunization Partnership Season 1 Episode 94
Vaxx to the Future
Season 1 Episode 94 TIP News for Dec. 14, 2021
Show Notes Transcript

Today’s TIP News: Texas ICU beds filling up again; COVID cases in kids on the rise; Omicron variant found in San Antonio; and Baylor College of Medicine says don’t expect another easy flu season. 


Today’s TIP News: Texas ICU beds filling up again; COVID cases in kids on the rise; Omicron variant found in San Antonio; and Baylor College of Medicine says don’t expect another easy flu season. 

Hello, and welcome to TIP News for Dec. 14, 2021. TIP News is a podcast production of The Immunization Partnership. My name is John David Powell. 

In today’s TIP News: Texas intensive care unit beds filling up again; COVID cases in kids are on the rise; the Omicron variant found in San Antonio; and Baylor College of Medicine says don’t expect another easy flu season. 

We begin with news from the US Department of Health and Human Services of another rise in the number of hospitals reporting intensive care unit bed capacity. At least 41 reported capacity between Dec. 3 and Dec. 9. Those were among the 200 or so Texas hospitals with more than four ICU patients or four staffed ICU beds Health and Human Services tracks. 

In Houston, HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center reported 100 percent ICU capacity. Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center reported 99.6 percent, while Kindred Hospital and CHI St. Luke's Health Baylor College of Medicine each reported 99 percent ICU capacity. 

COVID cases among kids are on the rise again. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports a 24-percent increase in new cases last week compared to the week before. That amounts to more 31,000 new cases for those keeping score at home. This was the 18th straight week that the US saw more than 100,000 kids diagnosed with COVID. 

This means kids are getting hit at a higher rate than their proportion of the population. Kids make up 22.2 percent of the population, but their COVID infection rate is about 24 percent. 

Texas Children’s Hospital and the City of Houston will provide 5,000 free COVID vaccinations to folks five and older. That will be on Dec. 17 as part of the one-year anniversary week of when Texas got its first COVID vaccines. Walk-ups are OK, but the hospital and city prefer folks make online appointments for the shots at the George R. Brown Convention Center from noon to 8pm. The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County will provide free rides to the convention center.  

Bexar County, Texas, has its first two Omicron variant cases. At least the first two health officials detected. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio says they found the two cases Nov. 27 and Dec. 7. 

We keep reminding you to get your flu shot and your COVID shots or boosters to help hold off the twindemic of flu and COVID hitting at the same time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says last year’s flu season was unusually low in the US and around the world, but this year could be worse. At least that’s what Dr. Stacy Rose at Baylor College of Medicine says. She’s an assistant professor of infectious diseases at Baylor. 

She says the months ahead have the potential for increased respiratory illnesses because fewer folks are wearing masks, because of the relaxed restrictions, and because of holiday gatherings. 

She says if you have not received your flu shot, go get it, adding that if you know the flu vaccine helps with morbidity and mortality, why wouldn’t you get it? 

Indeed. 

Most folks can get flu shots, including those who have an egg allergy. As always, check with your healthcare provider to find out what is right for you. And especially think really hard about a flu shot if you are pregnant, over 65, have babies in the home, or if you are obese. These are the folks at most risk for catching the flu. 

You can get flu and COVID at the same time. Flu symptoms and COVID symptoms are the same, so check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist about tests.  

Rapid influenza diagnostic tests, or RIDTS provide results within 10-15 minutes but may not be as accurate as other flu tests. The CDC says rapid molecular assays are another flu test, which detect the genetic material of the flu virus and you can get results in 15-20 minutes.  

Remember, it’s never too late to get your flu shots, until it’s too late. 

That’s our TIP News for today, Dec. 14, 2021. 

TIP News is a podcast production of The Immunization Partnership. We invite you to subscribe to our podcasts, Vaxx Voice, which deals with vaccines in general, and Vaxx to the Future, where we feature information specifically related to COVID-19 and its vaccines. You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. You can also find more information on our webpage, immunizeusa.org. For all of us at The Immunization Partnership, I’m John David Powell. Thanks for listening.