Fall is vaccine season; doctors say it’s OK to get immunizations for Covid-19 and flu at same time; new RSV vaccine available

Covid-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are circulating, so the vaccine season is upon us. To get the maximum protection, start with a game plan.

“Doctors generally suggest getting your flu and Covid shots before the end of October and say it’s OK to get both those shots at the same time,” reports Sumathi Reddy of The Wall Street Journal. “The most important thing, doctors say, is to get vaccinated. If you’re in a doctor’s office or a drugstore and can get your shots, it usually makes sense to do it.”

For Covid shots, “Sooner rather than later is good. . . especially if you are a senior or immunocompromised,” Reddy reports. One exception: Over the summer, there was an increase in Covid cases, and if you’ve been recently infected, putting off getting a booster for three to six months is wise. “If your level of antibodies is quite high, the booster does very little good. You’re kind of wasting your shot,” John Wherry, director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania, told Reddy.

“The newly approved booster targets the dominant strains now circulating,” Reddy notes. “Covid-19 test positivity rates have hovered around 14% for the past month, according to CDC data, up from 4% in June. Covid boosters from Pfizer and Moderna have already rolled out. The Novavax booster is expected later this fall.”

The annual flu vaccine is recommended in September or October. “Flu cases usually start ticking up in November and peak in January before trailing off at the end of March,” Reddy notes. “If you get sick with the flu before you’ve been vaccinated, you should still get the vaccine about a month later, he says. That’s because the flu vaccine typically protects against four types or strains of influenza.”

RSV vaccines are approved for seniors and some pregnant women; doctors say opting to have the vaccines sooner is best, Reddy reports, “because activity is picking up, and RSV tends to peak earlier than the other respiratory viruses, says Wherry. There is also a new RSV drug approved to protect infants. Cases are already starting to increase in the Southeast, according to the CDC.”

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