• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

What to know about the flu shot and COVID vaccine: Yahoo News Explains

In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Health officials are urging Americans to get their flu shot as well as the COVID-19 vaccine if they are eligible in an effort to prevent hospitals from being even more overwhelmed than they already are by COVID. Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician, says “it’s definitely possible” that we may see a double whammy of the flu season and COVID-19. Wen explains why it’s important to get the flu shot now and how it comes into play with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Video transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

LEANA WEN: We know that, in general, there is a spike in influenza cases every year. We missed that last year. And that's because people were practicing fairly strict physical distancing and masking. Now, a lot of people have let down their guard. A lot more kids are back in class. People are back at work. Also, because we didn't have much of a flu season last year, there are a lot of people who may not have much immunity to influenza.

And so this is why it's so important for everyone to get the flu vaccine and also to get the COVID vaccine. There are two different viruses, but thankfully there are vaccines developed for both of these. And so really important to prevent against both influenza as well as COVID-19.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Everyone who is eligible to get the flu shot should do so. And that's all children over the age of six months. And everybody, again, should be getting the flu shot. Now is the best time to get the flu shot-- in September, October. And that's because ideally you want to get the flu shot prior to the onset of flu season.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Yes, you can get the flu vaccine at the same time that you're getting the COVID vaccine or a COVID booster. Now, some people may be confused about this because of the guidance last year when the COVID vaccines were first developed. When they first came out, we didn't know whether they could be given at the same time as other vaccines. And so the guidance then was to space out the COVID vaccine and all the other vaccines by about two weeks.

Well, that's no longer the guidance that is required. Now, you can go for one appointment. If it's convenient for you, you could get the COVID booster in one arm and the flu vaccine in the other arm. There's no reason to space it out.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

The side effects really depend on the individual. There are a lot of people who get the flu vaccine every year who have no side effects whatsoever. There are a lot of people who get the COVID vaccine and really don't have any side effects, versus there are some people who may have more severe side effects-- maybe they get fevers, and aches, and chills-- to both the flu vaccine and the COVID vaccine. If you are such an individual and just are very stressed about the possibility of having a potentially even worse side effect than usual, you could still choose yourself to space out the vaccines. But there's no reason why that should be a recommendation for everyone, although people should make the best decisions knowing how their own bodies reacted before to the vaccines.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

The effectiveness of the flu vaccine depends every year. And that's because there are many strains of influenza. And the developers of the vaccines every year try to figure out, try to predict, what are these strains that are going to be there? And they try to match the vaccines to what could be the circulating strains of the flu. They may not always get it right, but here's the other way to think about it. Even if the flu vaccine is only 50% or 60% effective, it still prevents you 50% or 60% from getting the flu. And it also prevents you from getting severe consequences. And so you could have gotten very ill, but now if you get the vaccine, it could keep you out of the hospital. And so those are all very compelling reasons to get the flu vaccine.

Remember, one of the most common misconceptions is people think that the vaccine will somehow give them the virus. That's not true. The flu vaccine, just like the COVID vaccine, do not contain live virus. So you're not going to get the flu or COVID from getting the vaccine. In fact, it's the opposite. It prevents you from getting ill.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting