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What you need to know about COVID and flu vaccines ahead of peak seasons

Americans encouraged to get flu shot as US prepares to battle both flu and COVID-19
Posted at 10:04 AM, Aug 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-19 13:40:32-04

PHOENIX — Pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens are already offering flu shots, on top of the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, but when should you get them, and should you get both vaccines at the same time?

Well, with flu season just around the corner, and updated COVID-19 boosters, health officials say when you get them is becoming more and more important. Dr. Shad Marvasti says this is a balancing act health experts run into every year with the flu.

Fern Junso, who has lived in Arizona for nearly 50 years, can relate.

She said after living through the pandemic this long, she’d rather play it safe than be sorry.

“I don’t want to get the flu,” said Junso, which is why she has gotten her COVID-19 vaccines, boosters, and now the flu shot.

“Oh yeah, I’ve had the whole 10 yards. I need all the help I can get, too, because of my age,” she said.

Marvasti said getting your vaccines is a good idea.

“You want to be strategic about the timing of your boosters in relation to how exposed you’re going to be. I think it’s wise to get the flu shot in September,” he added.

He says it’s best to stay ahead of it, adding peak flu season has traditionally been from October through March. Though, that’s changed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because we saw an uptick in flu cases in late Spring and May of this year,” said Marvasti.

He said because immunity isn’t instantaneous, when you get the vaccine is important.

“You’re not going to have that protection, like within a day. Typically, with most vaccines, your body will make antibodies in two or three weeks,” said Dr. Marvasti.

That goes for the COVID-19 vaccine, too. Marvasti said the peak season for this virus is, “mostly in the winter and summer. Sometimes in the late fall."

Getting the flu and COVID-19 vaccine or COVID-19 booster at the same time will not reduce their effectiveness, “and there shouldn't be any real significant interference,” said Marvasti.

He warned getting the vaccines at the same time may not be a good idea for those with pre-existing health conditions or a weakened immune system, but it’s important to understand your immunity will wane over time.

If you decide to space out your shots, “I would definitely prioritize COVID because that’s the deadlier virus out there,” said Marvasti.

This article was written by Luzdelia Caballero for KNXV.