Flu shots + COVID 💉

Written by on September 21, 2021

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Brace for an aggressive flu season after a COVID-focused yr

As an keen vaccine rollout journey’s us to a COVID-cured world, consultants warn an aggressive influenza season could also be upon us.

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Nobody is aware of what to anticipate of this yr’s flu season. Final yr influenza just about disappeared, largely due to widespread adherence to COVID security measures – social distancing, mask-wearing and hand washing. However the nature of the flu – a notoriously tough illness to foretell – in addition to uncertainty round how a pandemic-weary nation will train warning this fall, make it not possible to know what lies forward.

The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention advocate that, with uncommon exceptions, everybody 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each season. Public well being consultants say vaccination is significant to guard people, communities and to keep away from burdening already overtaxed well being care techniques.

“The massive threat right here is that our healthcare system has restricted capability. Within the winter, it often hits that capability in lots of locations absent COVID, and flu is commonly an enormous contributor,” Dan Salmon, director of the Institute for Vaccine Security and a professor within the Division of Worldwide Well being at Hopkins College stated throughout a press briefing Wednesday. “I am not going to attempt to let you know what’s going to occur within the fall, however what I’ll say is that now we have actually good vaccines for COVID. We’ve got fairly good vaccines for flu. We should always use them each as extensively as doable and hope that we do not see co-pandemics that make issues worse.”

USA TODAY spoke with Stephen Fadowole, a Walgreens pharmacist primarily based in Chicago, and Linda Molaka, a CVS pharmacy supervisor primarily based in Pembroke Pines, Florida, on what folks have to know concerning the flu shot this yr.

Query: When is the best time to get the flu shot? 

Stephen Fadowole: Now is a superb time to get your flu shot. The CDC recommends annual flu pictures for everybody over 6 months of age earlier than flu begins circulating in communities and by the top of October to assist cut back unfold of flu. It takes about two weeks after the vaccine for antibodies to develop within the physique and supply safety in opposition to the flu.

Linda Molaka: Peak flu season is mostly from December by February, in order that’s why the top of October is a crucial time. It is essential to be sure to get your shot by then. However we truly do start vaccinating sufferers as quickly because the flu shot is available in, which is in August.

Q: Can I get my flu shot too early? 

Fadowole: The CDC says that July or August could also be too early to get your flu vaccine to make sure you get sufficient safety for your complete season. Nonetheless, if there’s an opportunity chances are you’ll miss out on getting your flu shot, it’s higher to get it a bit of early than by no means. 

Molaka: It is high quality to get the flu shot anytime after the pharmacies start providing them.

Q: What occurs if I get the flu shot too late?

Fadowole: The danger of getting your flu shot too late is getting contaminated with flu earlier than you’re protected. It’s additionally essential to do not forget that it takes two weeks after the vaccine for antibodies to develop within the physique and supply safety in opposition to the flu.

Molaka: So long as the virus is circulating, you will want safety. There’s by no means actually a too-late time, however in fact you need the safety as early as doable.

Q: If a COVID booster is permitted, can I get the flu shot on the identical time? 

Molaka: The CDC permits us to present a number of vaccines on the identical time. So you will get your flu shot. You may get your booster. You may get your first dose, second dose or extra dose with the flu shot. We’re capable of give them on the identical time. There is not any ready interval.

FDA advisory committee: Figuring out if COVID-19 vaccine boosters are extensively wanted now

Q: If I get them on the identical time, will I probably have extra unwanted effects?

Fadowole: In response to the CDC, unwanted effects of vaccines are usually the identical when given alone or with different vaccines. Negative effects range by particular person.

Molaka: The unwanted effects that now we have are usually gentle and final for one to 2 days. Creating them is an indication that you simply’re constructing immunity.

Q: Is there the rest that’s essential for folks to know? 

Fadowole: As communities return to on a regular basis actions amid a surge in COVID-19 instances, it’s crucial that folks stay diligent about getting their flu vaccine to assist cut back the unfold of a vaccine-preventable sickness.

Molaka: There are myths now we have to debunk. Folks at all times say, ‘Oh, I obtained the flu shot and I obtained the flu.’ The flu shot will not give the flu. In these pandemic instances, we wish to save healthcare assets and never burden the healthcare employees with one thing that’s simply preventable. We wish to reduce hospitalization. We wish to reduce deaths. We have to get the shot to reduce the impression on healthcare assets, to maintain the neighborhood wholesome, to maintain our households wholesome.”

Q: How are pharmacists getting ready for the inflow of individuals getting their flu shot and COVID vaccines?

Walgreens: 

  • Walgreens has enhanced its on-line scheduler so when sufferers schedule a flu or COVID-19 vaccine appointment, they’re requested in the event that they wish to get extra vaccines.
  • Pharmacy group members can administer flu vaccines to kids ages three and up.
  • Walgreens is actively hiring extra pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

CVS:

  • CVS has optimized digital consumption so you may make your appointment on-line, reply all consent kinds forward of time and reduce touchpoints to get you out and in.
  • CVS is actively hiring and says it’s ready to satisfy the demand. 
  • All of CVS’ roughly 1,000 MinuteClinic areas vaccinate ages 18 months and above for the flu. On the Pharmacy, it varies by state, however many can vaccinate ages three and older.

Extra: Specialists renew warnings of ‘twindemic’ as US enters flu season amid rising COVID-19 instances


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