As flu season approaches, plus the possibility of another flu case this fall, many Americans are wondering two things: when is the best time to get a flu shot — if there is one — and whether it’s safe to get both and get them twice. A seasonal flu vaccine and a new micron-specific covid-19 booster at the same time?
Although the CDC No specific guidance was available on the new recommendation that it is best to get the flu vaccine and the Covid-19 vaccine at the same time.
Yet, pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS They are giving the vaccines as a package deal, and people are starting to get both vaccines at the same time.
But not all public health experts believe that’s the best approach, especially given the average flu vaccination time the U.S. followed before the pandemic, said Teodora Hatzioannu, a virologist and associate professor at Rockefeller University.
“For the average person, it’s probably better to have it a little later,” says Hatzioannou, “I’m definitely waiting.”
The timing of getting the flu shot should match the time frame that allows you to have the best antibody response early in the flu season, Hatzioannou tells CNBC Make It.
Hatzioannou says it’s important to look at the data in your area, prior to the outbreak in recent years, to know when you’ll start seeing an increase in historical cases in your community.
The best way to get the most protection is to get your shot four weeks before flu season starts, because that’s when you get the main antibody response, she said.
“In New York and other areas of similar geographic latitude, flu season usually starts in December and lasts until March,” she says, “so if you have [the flu shot] Now, at the end of September or [early] October, your peak antibody responses will be in November. It’s too early.”
In the meantime, Hatzioannu recommends getting your flu shot in late October or early November for maximum protection in December.
And generally, the protection provided by the vaccine wears off over time, so if you get the vaccine early, you may have antibodies by the end of the flu season, she says.
“One thing I will say is I’m definitely going to get both shots this year because the combination can be pretty offensive,” Hatzioanno says.
“You don’t want to get the flu when the Covid is around and you don’t want to get the SARS-CoV-2 when the flu is around. I can imagine the double whammy is going to be pretty awful.”
There are no specific reasons why you can’t get your Omicron booster at the same time as your flu shot, says Mark Conroy, M.D., an emergency medicine physician at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
“In terms of the side effects of the Omicron-based vaccine and the flu vaccine, there are no studies looking at the two together,” Conroy said. shot, and there was no adverse effect associated with having both shots at the same time.
And if you’re worried about not being able to get your flu shot later in the year, Conroy encourages making a double appointment.
“What’s the biggest risk if you don’t get them at the same time? And the only risk is forgetting to get the flu shot later,” he said.
However, if you can wait to get your flu shot, Hatzioannou recommends doing so between mid-October and mid-November.
“In terms of Omicron’s promotion, my recommendation is that people get it as soon as they can. Covid is around enough to make people sick,” he said.
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