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Figuring out best timing for flu and COVID shots

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 3:06 PM CDT
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(CNN) – Top U.S. health officials say it’s time to roll up your sleeves.

The plea comes not only for the COVID-19 shot but for the flu vaccine as well.

“What you should do is get it as soon as you can and in the most expeditious manner,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease specialist.

As colder weather approaches, there’s a fear that the flu could further burden hospitals already strained by COVID-19 patients.

Getting protected against both viruses is seen as crucial, experts say.

“If that means going in and getting the flu shot in one arm, the COVID shot in the other, that’s perfectly fine,” Fauci said.

The convenience of getting both shots in one visit could make the process more appealing to some.

“Whatever it takes to get it done, go ahead and do it,” Fauci said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots for everyone 6 months and older with a few exceptions.

The agency says September and October are generally good times to be vaccinated, and ideally, everyone should be vaccinated by the end of October.

Top health officials say fighting flu and COVID-19 at the same time, isn’t something that’s expected to go away.

“You continue to have coronavirus spread, but not at the same levels as right now and it settles into a pattern -- more of a seasonal pattern and basically becomes a second flu,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner.

A recent poll finds most Americans have resigned themselves to a future with the coronavirus.

Some 79% of adults polled thought COVID-19 will continue at a low level as something the United States will learn to live with and manage, like influenza.

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