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Flu, RSV, and COVID-19 shots: How to plan your fall vaccination schedule

Pharmacies and doctor’s offices will begin offering the 2023-2024 flu vaccine this month. In the meantime, some people will be able to get another vaccine against respiratory illnesses: the new RSV vaccine.
“If you can only give them at the same time, then you should give them at the same time,” said infectious disease expert Amesh Adalja, MD, a senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Very good. “The ideal situation would be to inject into separate arms, but injecting them at the same time may result in more side effects such as arm soreness, fatigue and discomfort.”
Here’s what you need to know about both vaccines, and how a potential new COVID-19 booster vaccine coming later this fall will affect your vaccination plan.
“Each year, the flu vaccine is developed from influenza viruses that were circulating at the end of the previous year’s flu season,” William Schaffner, MD, professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, told Weaver. “That’s why everyone 6 months of age and older should get an annual flu shot before flu season.”
Pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS have started stocking flu shots. You can make an appointment in person at the pharmacy or on the pharmacy website.
Beginning at 6 months of age, almost everyone should get an annual flu shot. While there have been previous warnings about egg-based flu vaccine technology, these were for people with egg allergies.
“In the past, additional precautions were recommended for egg flu vaccinations for people who have had severe allergic reactions to eggs,” a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesperson told Verveer. “The CDC’s Vaccine Advisory Committee voted that people with an egg allergy may receive any influenza vaccine (egg-based or non-egg-based) appropriate for their age and health status. In addition to recommending vaccination with any vaccine, it is no longer recommended recommended. Take extra safety precautions with your flu shots.”
If you have previously had a severe reaction to a flu shot or are allergic to ingredients such as gelatin (except eggs), you may not be a candidate for the flu shot. Some people with Guillain-Barré syndrome may also not be eligible for the flu vaccine. However, there are many types of flu shots, so talk to your doctor to find out if there is a safe option for you.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some people should consider getting vaccinated as soon as possible, including in August:
But most people should wait until the fall to get the best protection against the flu, especially adults age 65 and older and pregnant women in their first and second trimesters.
“I don’t recommend getting the flu shot too early because its protection declines as the season goes on, so I usually recommend October,” Adalja said.
If it works best for your plan, you may get the flu vaccine at the same time as the RSV vaccine.
There are several versions of the flu vaccine, including a nasal spray approved for people ages 2 to 49. For people under 65, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend any one flu vaccine over another. However, people 65 and older should get a higher dose of the flu shot for better protection. These include Fluzone quadrivalent high-dose influenza vaccine, Flublok quadrivalent recombinant influenza vaccine and Fluad quadrivalent adjuvanted influenza vaccine.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover within a week or two. But infants and older adults are more likely to develop severe respiratory syncytial virus and require hospitalization.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the first RSV vaccine. Abrysvo, made by Pfizer Inc., and Arexvy, made by GlaxoSmithKline Plc, will be available in doctors’ offices and pharmacies in mid-August. Walgreens announced that people can now begin making appointments for the RSV vaccine.
Adults 60 years of age and older are eligible for the RSV vaccine, and the CDC recommends first discussing vaccination with your doctor.
The agency did not immediately recommend the vaccine because of the risk of rare atrial fibrillation, heart clotting problems and rare Guillain-Barre syndrome.
The CDC also recently recommended that all children younger than 8 months entering their first RSV season receive the newly approved injectable drug Beyfortus (nirsevimab). Children under 19 months of age who are still considered vulnerable to severe RSV infection are also eligible. Vaccinations are expected to take place this fall.
Doctors say people eligible for the vaccine should get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves before the start of RSV season, which typically starts in September and lasts until the spring.
“People should get the RSV vaccine as soon as it becomes available because it does not last for one season,” Adalja said.
You can get a flu shot and an RSV shot on the same day. Be prepared for arm pain, Adalja added.
In June, an FDA advisory committee voted unanimously to develop a new COVID-19 vaccine to protect against the XBB.1.5 variant. Since then, the FDA has approved new vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna that also protect against BA.2.86 and EG.5.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will make recommendations on whether people can receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as flu and RSV shots.
Although most people should wait until September or October to get a flu shot, you can get one now. RSV vaccines are also available and can be given at any time during the season.
Insurance should cover these vaccinations. No insurance? To find out about free vaccination clinics, call 311 or search by zip code at findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov to find many free vaccines at a Federally Qualified Health Center near you.
By Fran Kritz Fran Kritz is a freelance health journalist specializing in consumer health and health policy. She is a former staff writer for Forbes and US News & World Report.

Post time: Dec-16-2023