COVID-19 And Flu Season: Get Both Vaccines To Avoid The Twindemic

September 30, 2021
The 2021/2022 Flu season is approaching and many of us are wondering what to expect, since COVID-19 is still around.  Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine or the flu shot? If you ask us, we highly suggest getting both so that you can avoid the dreaded “twindemic”. The CDC states that you can, in fact,  receive both at the same time. In response to this, we have new updates to the flu vaccines to better prepare high risk individuals from getting the flu. AFC Urgent Care Natick now offers the highly effective quadrivalent flu vaccine and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine for COVID-19. Here’s what you should know so you can avoid the twindemic.

The flu vaccine has new updates for the 2021/2022 season

First, let’s get an old myth out of the way. Receiving a flu shot will not give you the flu. Flu vaccines given with a needle (i.e., flu shots) are made with either inactivated (killed) viruses, or with only a single protein from the flu virus.  It will, in fact,  encourage your body to start creating antibodies to fight a possible flu. That being said, let’s talk about which one will be right for you. There are many different types of flu vaccines, and the determining factors for which one you should get mostly come down to your age, and current state of health. Regardless, the flu shot is either going to be trivalent, meaning it protects against three strains of the virus, or quadrivalent, meaning it protects against four. AFC Urgent Care Natick offers the very effective quadrivalent flu vaccine. There have been updates to the vaccines to better combat possible strains in the 2021/2022 flu season. Here an updated list from The CDC about the new components in the vaccines:
  • The egg-based H1N1 vaccine component was updated from an A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus to an A/Guangdong-Maonan/SWL1536/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus.
  • The cell- or recombinant-based H1N1 vaccine component was updated from an A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus to an A/Hawaii/70/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus.
  • The egg-based H3N2 vaccine component was updated from an A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus to an A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)-like virus.
  • The cell- or recombinant-based H3N2 vaccine component was updated from an A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus to an A/Hong Kong/45/2019 (H3N2)-like virus.
  • The B/Victoria lineage vaccine component was updated from a B/Colorado/06/2017 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus to a B/Washington/02/2019 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus.
  • The B/Yamagata lineage vaccine component was not updated.
  It is important to remember that infants under 6 months should NOT receive a flu shot because their immune systems aren’t strong enough to handle the vaccine.  They are also at a high risk of flu complications if parents don’t get their flu shots. Remember,  you can reduce the chances of your newborn getting the flu if you get the flu shot before the season begins. If you have any questions or concerns about which vaccine is best for you and your loved ones, contact us. We’re here to help make it easy for you.

Who should get the flu vaccine this year?

The CDC suggests that everyone above the age of 6 months get vaccinated for the flu, including pregnant women, the elderly and high risk individuals. But what about newborns? Newborns under the 6 month threshold don’t have fully developed immune systems yet, so giving a flu vaccine to them would do more harm than good. However, a mother during pregnancy can receive a flu vaccine and pass on the immunity to their baby. Fun fact: When you get a flu shot during pregnancy, your baby will also develop antibodies that will protect it for the first 6-months of it’s life! It’s important to remember that when you are pregnant, your immune system is not at its strongest, making it far more likely that you will get sick. When you get sick, you are not only dealing with the flu yourself, but you are also putting your pregnancy at greater risk. AFC offers flu shots for Seniors   There are two new vaccines licensed for use during the 2021-2022 flu season. To better protect  seniors there is now a quadrivalent high-dose vaccine that replaces the former trivalent dose. There’s also another quadrivalent adjuvanted vaccine for seniors the elderly (above the age of 65) that has an additional influenza B component.    

Do I have to get both the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes! Just because you got your COVID-19 vaccine a few months back doesn’t mean it’s going to protect you from this year's flu strains. A flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine protect against two entirely different viruses. Getting one over the other is not going to protect you from both viruses this winter.   The CDC states you can get both shots at the same time. Whether you’re getting a booster shot or your first COVID-19 vaccine, there is no reason to skip out on the flu shot. 

What happens if I get both COVID-19 and the flu this season?

We hope this doesn’t happen. Symptoms do often overlap however. One of the main differences in symptoms is that you don’t lose your sense of smell and taste if you have the flu, and you may with COVID-19. . It might be hard to breathe through your nose if you have the flu, but if you can taste the flavor from chicken soup, then chances are it’s just the flu. The real threat here is if you get both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time. Ideally, we highly suggest you get vaccinated for both so you can avoid this. But, if you’re unsure if you have COVID-19 or the flu you can come get tested at our center for COVID-19 any day of the week.  Again, you can avoid both by getting vaccinated for both. We offer the flu vaccine and Johnson and Johnson vaccine at our AFC location in Natick.

Don’t wait. Come get your flu shot and Johnson and Johnson shot today!

AFC Urgent Care Natick now offers the quadrivalent vaccine 7 days a week with no appointment necessary.    We also offer the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine too! Learn more about it here and what to expect.   You can walk into our AFC location in Natick, MA at 945 Worcester St. any day of the week. We accept most insurances and we also offer COVID-19 testing 7 days a week with same day results when you get our RAPID COVID-19 testing service.

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