There is much abuzz about the influenza (flu) vaccine this year because of the possibility of getting Covid-19 and the flu together. Yes, it is possible to have both at once. There are some places like CVS already offering the flu shots. However, it is too early for the flu shot right now. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), “Getting vaccinated in July or August is too early, especially for older people, because of the likelihood of reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season. September and October are good times to get vaccinated.”
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices hasn’t voted on the flu vaccine recommendations for 2020-2021 (it changes every year), however the CDC doesn’t anticipate a major change in the recommendation on timing of vaccination.
Because the effectiveness of the flu shot only lasts a few months, if you get your shot too early, then you won’t be protected in March or April when the influenza virus may still be occurring. In some populations, a second injection will be given, but ideally, you can time your flu shot this fall to allow for some immunity to the flu which will decrease the severity of the disease if you do get it and decrease the amount of hospitalizations.
The recommendations could change this fall depending on what the pandemic does and as we learn more, but as of now, this is the best practice to follow. Priority Care will be working with Austin Drugs to offer flu shots to our patients as well as the community when it is appropriate.
In the words of Laurel Bristow, our favorite epidemiologist and clinical researcher currently working on the Moderna-NIH trial of the Covid-19 vaccine trial, “Be excellent to each other, wash your hands, and cover your face.” (If you are on Instagram, you can follow her relatable and very helpful updates and stories @kinggutterbaby. This is her personal account but she is helping to educate the public in layman’s terms on all things Covid-19 related.)
Please reach out if you have any questions about getting a flu shot!