Should you combine a COVID-19 booster and a flu shot?

IIf you have not been vaccinated or vaccinated against COVID-19 in the past few months, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says you should get a new booster shot This waterfall. The latest photos, okay authorized at the end of August and currently available, is designed to target the currently circulating Omicron variants.

New boosters can be delivered at the same time as seasonal flu shotCDC said. But should you take both stabs at once or release them? It’s a simple question with a surprisingly complex answer.

However unpopular opinionmany experts, including White House medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says you should get a booster shot of COVID-19 as soon as you are eligible — at least two months after your last dose of vaccine or three months after your last SARS-CoV-2 infection. In a recent podcast interviewAshish Jha, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, recommends stepping up on Halloween to ensure you’re protected for the typical winter holidays and virus season.

“Get it now. If you’ve been vaccinated or [recently] Jha said. “But don’t wait too long. Don’t wait until the end of November, December. Better do it sooner than never.”

Jha’s suggested booster timing is in line with CDC advice for getting a flu shot, which is to get vaccinated in late October. And he suggested that people take both pictures at the same time. . “I truly believe this is why God gave us two arms – one for the flu shot and the other for the COVID shot,” Jha said in a recent press conference.

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It is safe to have both shots on the same day. Both vaccines can cause side effects – including soreness at the injection site, headache, fever, nausea, fatigue and muscle aches – so it’s okay to feel uncomfortable if you double, but there’s no medical reason to avoid doing so. “If a person wants to get both diseases at the same time, they can,” said Dr. Alicia Fry, chief of epidemiology and prevention in the CDC’s influenza division. “If that works for the person, it’s a very productive use of their time.”

Richard Zimmerman, who directs the Pittsburgh Immunization Research Group and has served on the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee, agrees that now is the right time to get a COVID-19 booster, given the number of cases cases remain high nationally. (Zimmerman got his Omicron booster shot in early September.) But in his opinion, September is a bit early for a flu shot.

“Ideally, get vaccinated before the season of any infectious disease,” he says. “Flu season usually runs from December to March, so I personally put off getting the flu shot until October or November.”

One year 2021 research found that flu shot effectiveness decreases by about 10% per month after vaccination — so if someone gets a flu shot in September, they could be vulnerable to the virus if they were exposed in February or March. More research, which was published in 2019 and looked at older adults specifically, found that if all elderly people who normally get vaccinated against flu were vaccinated starting in October, instead of August or September , more than 11,000 cases of influenza in the elderly could have been avoided. in a typical season. The CDC says you can get the vaccine in November or later, because flu can circulate until May.

However, there is another complicating factor. Scientists in the United States often look to Australia, which has a flu season during the spring and summer of the United States, to predict what is coming in the United States — and Australia had an unusually early flu season in this year. The Influenza has not yet circulated widely in the United States, but based on what happened in Australia, maybe that will change soon. “This year, I think there are some good reasons to get a flu shot early in the fall,” said Dr Brandon Webb, an infectious disease specialist at Utah’s Intermountain Medical Center.

Obviously, there are many factors that influence the ideal vaccination schedule. For people at high risk for severe COVID-19 or the flu, it may be a good idea to talk to a healthcare provider to take those specifics into consideration — but most people don’t need to. time stress, says Zimmerman. Ultimately, the best time to get vaccinated is whenever you actually do it. And if a flu shot and a COVID-19 booster at the same time are the only way you’ll get both, a two-shot appointment might be the way to go.

“For some people, it’s hard to get to a doctor or medical facility. For them, the convenience of using both vaccines at the same time can outweigh the risk of weakening. [protection],” said Zimmerman. “If you don’t get in because you’re trying to time it perfectly,” you have no protection at all.

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