Watch CBS News

Philadelphia health officials urge people to get vaccinated as COVID hospitalizations increase

Philadelphia health officials plea for people to get vaccinated as COVID hospitalizations uptick
Philadelphia health officials plea for people to get vaccinated as COVID hospitalizations uptick 02:27

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- There were urgent pleas Thursday from national and Philadelphia health officials. They say it's time for everyone to get vaccinated.

This comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations are increasing.

The season for sickness arrives in October. That's why doctors say it's important for people to get vaccinated now.

"We want to make sure as many people as possible, especially people that are high risk. Get the vaccines," Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said.

The Philadelphia health commissioner hopes to avoid another tripledemic of flu, COVID and RSV, like what happened last winter.

"Emergency rooms were crowded leading to long waits for people who needed to get seen," Bettigole said.

READ MORE: FDA and CDC sign off on new COVID vaccines. Here's what to know about the updated shots for fall 2023.

"We're gonna keep monitoring to understand how bad this particular season will be," Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Mandy Cohen said. "But we can act now with tools to make this season more mild if we all get vaccinated."

In Philadelphia, there's already been an increase in COVID hospitalizations, which is why there's a big push now to get more people vaccinated. There are some supply issues with the rollout of the updated COVID vaccine and problems with insurance coverage.

"It will smooth out over time," Bettigole said. "If you have difficulty getting vaccine please wait a week or two and try again."

For the flu, a new survey shows while 65% of adults know vaccination is the best way to prevent hospitalizations and deaths, 43% do not plan to or are not sure they will get vaccinated, and only 40% plan to get the new updated COVID-19 vaccine, and the RSV shot if they are over 60.

"I think it's unfortunate and I think it's not surprising," Bettigole said.

READ MORE: Free COVID test kits are back. Here's how to get them.

Last flu season was moderately severe with 31 million illnesses, 360,000 hospitalizations, and 21,000 deaths, and 176 pediatric deaths were also associated with the flu.

"More than 80% of those were not fully vaccinated against flu," Cohen said.

The CDC also says getting multiple vaccines at one time is safe and effective.

Health officials say there are no supply issues with the flu vaccine, it's available now. The CDC says everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu and COVID shot.

The RSV vaccine is for the elderly, babies, and pregnant women.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.