While the City's focus has been on COVID-19 preventative measures, it is important to be vigilant, aware, and prepared for the upcoming flu season. Public health experts are already sounding the alarm on how a combination of COVID-19 and the common flu can overburden healthcare systems, as illustrated in the quote below (full article attached),
"Dr. Schaffner says the social distancing measures are all the more important as we look towards the winter months to prevent a potentially 'huge' burden on the healthcare community. This is because between flu season and COVID-19, there will be excess illnesses and deaths. 'We in the infectious disease community expect a double-barreled situation,' Dr. Schaffner says. 'We expect in the winter it will pick up steam and be transmitted alongside the flu.' That is why he adds it is all the more important this year to make sure people get their flu vaccines, to avoid the burden on healthcare workers and help cope with the continued cases of COVID-19."
In fact, the University of Miami will require that students, faculty and staff receive the seasonal flu vaccine (with exemptions for health/ religious reasons).
Given that the City was surprised by the cessation from the School Board (MDCPS) of in-school flu shots, and that MDCPS has not yet indicated whether flu shots will be offered at school sites in the 2020-21 school year, schools should remain a priority.
To supplement MDCPS, 203 students at an approximate cost fo $15k were to receive flu shots in mid-March supported by the City as follows:
· Biscayne ES – 63 students
· South Pointe ES – 29 students
· Feinberg Fisher K-8 – 73 students
· Nautilus MS – 24 students
· Miami Beach Senior High – 9 students
· North Beach ES – 5 students
This item should entail a discussion of plans for the community, schools, City employees and any resource requirements. Any specific recommendations/support from our Health Advisory Committee or other jurisdictions would be helpful.