Getting vaccinated against Covid and the flu at the same time: everything you need to know

At the same time, health officials are insisting on the recommendation to get a seasonal flu shot. Some forecasters fear the next flu season will be difficult for North America, as countries in the southern hemisphere that have already had their flu season – such as Australia and New Zealand – have seen spikes in cases. higher than average. So the United States could see the flu making a comeback while Covid-19 is still circulating at higher levels.

Barring new coronavirus variants of concern, some officials predict updated Covid-19 vaccines could be the start of recommended booster shots for Americans every year, the same way annual updated flu shots are given. .

“For the majority of Americans, one vaccine per year will provide a very high degree of protection against serious illnesses, and that’s what we need to focus on,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, coronavirus response coordinator for the White House, to CNN. the week. “Maybe for some high-risk people — the elderly, the immunocompromised — they may need protection more than once a year, but for the majority of Americans, that’s where it is, and I think it’s a really good place to be.”

Where and when to get a Covid-19 booster and flu shot

The updated Covid-19 vaccine booster and seasonal flu shots are available at most pharmacies, doctors’ offices and health care clinics.

Not only are U.S. health officials encouraging people to get vaccinated this year, but some local public health departments plan to schedule joint vaccination clinics, said Lori Tremmel Freeman, executive director of the National Association of County and City. Health Officials.

“Jurisdictions will set up joint flu and Covid vaccination clinics and other opportunities for people to get both their flu shot and their updated Covid booster,” Freeman said, adding that there is “no problem” getting both vaccines. at the same time or around the same time.

The hope is that the joint clinics will make it more convenient and accessible for people to get vaccinated – but not everyone might be interested or even eligible to get both shots at the same time. Plus, some say it’s still early days to get a flu shot.

A single dose of the updated Covid-19 booster is recommended at least two months after the initial series of vaccines or your most recent booster.

“Now, suppose you’ve recovered from Covid — and many people have had Covid of course this summer — wait at least three months,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University. Medical Center.

He added that it is important to get your recall as soon as you are eligible.

“It is clear that whether you are vaccinated or have had Covid, if you receive this booster you will get much higher levels of antibodies and they are thought to help us achieve more prolonged protection,” said he declared. “The other thing that’s happening is that the immune system responds more broadly, and it looks like we’ll get broader coverage against other variants.”

As for the flu shot, the recommended timing of vaccination for this flu season is similar to last season, according to the CDC’s website.
Americans may need annual vaccines to protect against Covid-19

“For most people who only need one dose for the season, September and October are usually good times to get vaccinated,” according to the CDC, adding that while “ideally” it is recommended to get vaccinated by the end of October, vaccination after October can still provide protection during the peak of the flu season.

“The ideal time is October and maybe the first two weeks of November – and the reason I say this is, especially for the elderly and the frail, it will help their protection extend February through March, and that’s when the flu often peaks in the United States in February,” Schaffner said. “Anyone 6 months and older should get the flu shot.”

Regarding children under 12, who are not eligible for the updated Covid-19 booster, Schaffner said parents should focus on vaccinating their children with the primary series or the booster that they can get now.

“I would say, maintain the current schedule,” he said. “Because it’s abundantly clear that the original is still doing a good job of protecting us against hospitalizations and more serious illnesses.”

Schaffner added that some people have asked him if the Covid-19 vaccine protects against the flu or vice versa. They don’t.

“You have to get both vaccines,” he said. “The Covid vaccine will not protect against the flu. The flu vaccine will not protect against Covid.”

Preparing for a possible Covid-19 surge

Last week, the Biden administration announced its plan to manage Covid-19 this fall because there is potential for infections to rise, in part due to waning immunity to vaccines and infection.

“Also, as the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors, contagious viruses like COVID-19 can spread more easily,” the announcement reads. “And, as we saw last fall with the emergence of Omicron, we must continue to remain prepared for the possibility of a potential new variant of concern.”

The White House continues to call on Congress to pass additional funding for the Covid-19 response, after asking for a $22.4 billion update last week. GOP Sen. Mitt Romney said passing that funding would be “a very tough lift.”

The administration’s plan to handle Covid-19 this fall includes encouraging updated booster vaccinations and making them easy to access, as well as ensuring people have easy access to rapid tests and treatments at residence. That includes purchasing an additional 100 million rapid home tests from domestic manufacturers, the White House said.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “will launch a paid media campaign to increase vaccination against COVID-19, with a focus on people over 50, as well as Blacks, Hispanics, rural, Asian American/Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and Native American/Alaskan Native audiences through television, radio, digital media, and print media.”

The administration is also bolstering “easy access to Covid-19 testing and treatment,” but warned, “While the lack of additional COVID-19 funding from Congress places constraints on what we are able to do, the The administration will do everything in its power to ensure that tests and treatments remain widely available and easy to access, and encourage Americans to use them.”

CNN’s Betsy Klein contributed to this report.


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