Monkeypox, Flu And COVID-19: Avoiding The “Triple Pandemic”

October 12, 2022

Mother And Daughter At AFC Urgent Care Natick Getting Ready For Their Flu Shots

Last year, we got ahead of ourselves with social gatherings during the Thanksgiving and winter holidays causing many of us to get sick with both the flu and COVID. But, because COVID and flu have symptoms that overlap, it gives us more of a reason to avoid them this 2022 winter season because we also have to worry about the monkeypox virus. What a trifecta with the potential to cancel our favorite holidays again. 

AFC Urgent Care Natick is aware of this potential threat and now offers the highly effective quadrivalent flu vaccine and COVID-19 testing to help you have peace of mind during the holidays. Here’s what you should know so you can avoid all three viruses.

AFC Urgent Care Natick Offers The Updated 2022 Quadrivalent Flu Vaccine

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 have been updates to the vaccines to better combat possible strains in the 2022/2023 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. 

Monkeypox Has Similar Symptoms To The Flu

COVID and the flu are not the only virus to worry about anymore. In recent months, the CDC has reported an outbreak of Monkeypox in the U.S. You shouldn’t underestimate this virus or stereotype it either. It is highly contagious and easily transmissible no matter the gender or nationality. It can easily be transmitted like COVID and Flu through respiratory droplets, or by hugging, kissing, sharing personal items and even sex.

The most common symptoms of Monkeypox are:

  • Rash or Lesions (the most obvious symptom)
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backaches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

The point is…it is a virus you don’t want to get. Stay informed with the CDC guidelines about Monkeypox here.

What Happens If I Get COVID-19 And The Flu Again This Season?

We hope this doesn’t happen again. Last year was a nightmare because COVID testing had long wait times and there was confusion between both flu and COVID. 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. We also offer the updated quadrivalent flu vaccine so you can rule that out this winter season.

For information on the latest COVID booster and the Monkey Pox vaccine centers, please visit your local pharmacy or check the Massachusetts DPH website for a link to available locations.


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

AFC Urgent Care Natick now offers the quadrivalent vaccine 7 days a week to help rule this out during the winter/flu season. Let’s not make the same mistake like we did last year where some of you skipped out on getting one. We all know how that turned out.


You can walk-in or make an appointment online to visit our AFC location in Natick, 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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Call (508) 650-6208 for more information about our Natick urgent care services.

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