When must you get the brand new COVID-19 booster and the flu shot? Now’s the proper time for each


At this level within the COVID-19 pandemic, practically everybody has skilled the panic and uncertainty that include having gentle COVID-like signs – reminiscent of a cough and sore throat – solely to check damaging day after day. With chilly and flu season simply across the nook, that state of irritating uncertainty is prone to strike most of us once more.

Each COVID-19 and the flu are contagious respiratory sicknesses which have comparable signs, making it tough to differentiate between the 2 viral infections and not using a lab take a look at. Testing is the one option to know which virus is inflicting your signs. In truth, labs are working to create one take a look at that may detect each COVID-19 and the flu.

As a nursing professor with expertise in public well being promotion, I’m usually requested concerning the variations between the flu and COVID-19. This yr I’m fielding many questions on the timing of getting the brand new COVID-19 booster and the flu shot and whether or not they are often given collectively.

Parsing the signs

Signs of each COVID-19 and the flu can vary from gentle – or no noticeable signs in any respect – to extreme. Whereas flu an infection doesn’t sometimes have an effect on one’s skill to style or scent, lack of style or scent has been a typical symptom related to COVID-19 an infection. Each infections may cause fevers, chills, physique aches and fatigue. Extra extreme signs of both an infection embrace issue respiration and subsequent infections like pneumonia.

Through the 2021-2022 flu season, the time period “flurona” made its method into the COVID-19 vernacular. Flurona refers to a simultaneous an infection with each the flu and COVID-19. Whereas just a few instances of co-infections have been reported, it will not be shocking to see extra of them this coming flu season. Vaccination for each the flu and COVID-19 is your finest safety in opposition to each.

What flurona is – and isn’t.

Timing the photographs

With the newly formulated COVID-19 booster shot now out there and flu season simply across the nook, a pure query is whether or not there may be an optimum timing for the 2 photographs.

The reply to that query is to get each as quickly as doable. You will need to take into account that it takes roughly two weeks after vaccination for the physique to develop antibodies from each the COVID-19 vaccines and the flu vaccine.

So long as you could have accomplished your major COVID-19 vaccine sequence and it has been no less than eight weeks since your final COVID-19 booster, now’s the time to get the up to date COVID-19 vaccine that targets each the unique pressure of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – and the latest omicron subvariants. The unique COVID-19 vaccines and booster sequence have dramatically decreased the variety of COVID-19 an infection and dying charges, in addition to instances of extreme COVID-19 that result in hospitalization.

Whereas everybody 6 months of age and older are really helpful to obtain each the COVID-19 and flu vaccines, sure populations have a better danger for extreme an infection, reminiscent of pregnant ladies, and needs to be further vigilant about getting vaccinated.

Additional, amongst these vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19, signs throughout an an infection are usually milder. Nevertheless, due partially to the shortly evolving nature of the virus, it’s grow to be clear that immune safety from COVID-19 vaccination or an infection doesn’t final endlessly. Whereas research present that the first COVID-19 sequence maintains efficacy in opposition to extreme illness and dying six months after vaccination, safety in opposition to an infection decreases by between 20% to 30% by six months after vaccination.

This decline in immune safety is precisely why booster photographs are so important. With out a big uptake of booster photographs within the inhabitants, COVID-19 an infection charges might surge once more.

The up to date COVID-19 booster photographs at the moment are out there.

Timing can also be essential with the flu vaccine. Flu instances sometimes start to rise in October and peak between December and February, however can final via Could. Ideally, individuals ought to get vaccinated earlier than flu begins to unfold, making September or early October the best flu vaccination time.

A tough flu season forward

As a consequence of lockdowns, decreased journey, college closures and masks mandates within the first and second years of the pandemic, each the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 flu seasons have been estimated to have fewer hospitalizations and deaths from the flu in comparison with lots of the pre-pandemic years.

Within the fall of 2021, specialists turned involved concerning the potential for a COVID-19 and flu “twindemic,” particularly as COVID-19 restrictions have been lifting and masks have been coming off. Happily, the worst didn’t bear out – flu numbers within the 2021-2022 season didn’t return to pre-pandemic ranges. Nevertheless, the potential of a “twindemic” shouldn’t be out of the image for the approaching flu season.

Flu seasons are inherently tough to foretell. With most individuals touring once more, faculties open, masks mandates lifted and employees headed again to the workplace, individuals are undoubtedly going to be uncovered to germs that they’ve been extra protected against for the final two and a half years.

To additional compound this, flu vaccine charges have been decrease through the pandemic, suggesting that People could also be out of the behavior of getting their annual flu shot.

Pairing the photographs

Many are additionally questioning whether or not they can or ought to get each the up to date COVID-19 booster and the flu shot on the similar time. The excellent news is, sure, it’s protected for each adults and kids 12 years of age and up who’re eligible for the up to date COVID-19 booster to get these vaccines concurrently.

A latest examine discovered that widespread vaccine uncomfortable side effects reminiscent of ache on the injection website occurred at barely larger charges when somebody obtained the flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine on the similar time, versus receiving solely a COVID-19 booster. Nevertheless, these reactions, together with fatigue and headache, have been gentle and resolved inside a day or two.

You don’t must make two separate vaccine visits so long as you might be due on your subsequent COVID-19 shot. Nevertheless, I don’t suggest ready to get your flu shot in case you are not but due for a COVID-19 booster. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention suggests everybody obtain their flu vaccine by the tip of October. However if you happen to miss that deadline, it’s completely higher to get vaccinated later within the season than by no means.

Group issues too

Getting the flu and COVID-19 vaccines isn’t nearly your personal well being, it’s about household and group well being too. Communities with larger vaccination charges have fewer alternatives to unfold the virus.

Have in mind that many individuals can’t be vaccinated as a result of they’ve weakened immune methods or are present process remedies. They rely on these round them for cover. Whereas one particular person could expertise gentle signs in the event that they contract the flu or COVID-19, they may unfold the virus to others who might grow to be severely in poor health. As a result of it’s unimaginable to foretell how individuals will react in the event that they get sick, getting the flu and COVID-19 vaccines is the most effective prevention technique.

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