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Autumn is here, and with it comes the start of cold and flu season. This year, however, new immunizations are available to help fight viruses like the flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19. Discover the latest information on these vaccinations and learn how to protect yourself and stay well this season and all year.
The latest COVID-19 vaccine is now available, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that individuals ages 6 months and older get an updated vaccine to help enhance protection against potentially serious infections. Vaccination remains the strongest protection against hospitalization, death and long COVID-19 symptoms.
This variation of the vaccine targets the XBB1.5 strain of the omicron coronavirus variant and has proven effective in tests against the EG.5 (eris) variant as well.
Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax are all expected to offer updated COVID-19 vaccinations this fall.
Guard yourself against the flu this season with the latest flu shot. Cases of the flu tend to rise between November and January. For the best protection, get your yearly flu shot in late September or early October to ensure you stay safe throughout the season, which can last until April or May.
Flu shots are recommended for everyone 6 months and older. The CDC estimates that people who got the flu shot last year were between 40 and 70% less likely to be hospitalized from the flu.
RSV affects the lungs and is highly contagious. RSV is typically a mild virus, causing congestion, cough, sneezing and sometimes a fever, though those with a weakened immune system, such as babies and older adults, are at a higher risk of more severe symptoms.
RSV is the leading cause of hospitalization for infants up to a year old. According to estimates from the CDC, during a typical year, the virus hospitalizes as many as 80,000 children ages 5 and under. Older adults are also at an increased risk of RSV, with CDC estimates of 160,000 people over age 65 hospitalized with the virus yearly.
This season, new RSV vaccinations for infants and older adults are available, which could help reduce infection rates nationwide. Beyfortus is a new antibody shot made for babies to strengthen their immunity against RSV, and it will be available nationwide this fall.
In addition, as the first of their kind, two new RSV vaccines for people aged 60 and older, Arexvy and Abrysvo, have recently been FDA-approved and are now available nationwide. Adult vaccine trials have shown to provide protection with just a single dose for up to two virus seasons.
Protect Your Health This Season
If you plan to get all three vaccines (COVID-19, flu and RSV), it’s likely best not to get them all simultaneously. Instead, it’s recommended to pair your updated COVID-19 vaccine with your annual flu shot and wait a few weeks before getting your RSV vaccination. Spacing them out can help reduce the severity of any potential side effects from the three vaccinations. Your primary care provider can help you decide which vaccinations are right for you and when to get them so you can best protect your health.