Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT — Despite it still feeling like summer most days, the Center for Disease Control website states September and October are generally the most recommended months to get the flu shot.
As fall moves in and new COVID-19 boosters are available, flu shots remain an important vaccination.
“People have kind of forgotten about the flu the past couple of years because COVID is always top of mind,” Healthy Henry County director Kelly Carr said.
“Last year there was significant decrease,” HHC Immunization Coordinator Robin Poole said.
Those eligible for their initial COVID-19 vaccine or the new boosters may elect to receive the flu vaccine at the same time.
“They can be given on the same visit,” Poole said.
“Studies conducted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic indicate that it is safe to get both a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same visit,” the Center for Disease Control says.
If side effects concern an individual, however, it may be worth noting that there is a slight increase in systemic reactions when administered at the same time.
“A recent CDC study published in JAMA suggests people who received a flu vaccine and an mRNA COVID-19 booster vaccine at the same time were slightly more likely (8% to 11%) to report systemic reactions including fatigue, headache, and muscle ache than people who only received a COVID-19 mRNA booster vaccine, but these reactions were mostly mild and resolved quickly,” the CDC website states. “The findings of this study are consistent with safety data from clinical trials that did not identify any serious safety concerns with coadministration.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, vaccination has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death.
The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and old to receive the flu vaccine annually, as they have since 2010.
This year, the CDC recommends that those 65 and older receive a higher dosed adjuvant flu vaccine.
“Options for this age group include inactivated influenza vaccine [IIV], recombinant influenza vaccine [RIV], or live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), with no preference for any flu vaccine over another,” the CDC recommends.
Regardless of age, there are other measures available to help protect against the flu.
Avoid close contact with others who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your mouth and nose.
Wash your hands frequently.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Practice other good health habits such as disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
To get yourself or a loved one vaccinated, Henry County Public Health holds clinic hours with walk-in availability Tuesday 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Thursdays 1-4 p.m., and remain open until 6 p.m. the first and third Thursday of the month.
“Every year it is important to get the flu shot,” Poole said.
Visiting your primary care physician or even local pharmacy are also options for vaccination.
“We should not delay vaccination for COVID or influenza,” Poole said.