Three Vital Vaccines for Fall

September 27, 2023

Vaccines To Keep Yourself Healthy This Fall

Vaccines have always been crucial to keeping us healthy by preventing diseases. Recently, we've faced new threats, like COVID-19 and increasing cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), but the good news is you can get vaccinated to minimize your chances of getting sick. Consider these vaccines to keep yourself happy and healthy this fall:

Flu Vaccine

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu vaccine “prevented an estimated 7.52 million illnesses, 3.69 million medical visits, 105,000 hospitalizations and 6,300 deaths” nationally over the course of the 2019 – 2020 season. Getting your flu vaccine reduces your chance of contracting influenza and minimizes severity should you get sick. The best time to get your flu shot is late September through October. If you are 65 years old or older, you may also elect to receive a “high-dose” flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is available at all BILH primary care offices as well as at local retail pharmacies. There is no significant difference between flu vaccines, no matter where you get it.

COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 hasn’t gone away. With recent spikes of COVID-19 and winter fast approaching, it’s a good decision to stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccine. Like the flu shot, getting your COVID-19 booster will reduce your chances of becoming sick while minimizing symptoms should it happen.

There is now a new monovalent COVID vaccine available, (also referred to as “updated COVID vaccine”) geared towards more recent COVID strains and several other variants. You may receive the new COVID vaccine and your flu vaccine at the same time. If you recently had a COVID infection, it is generally recommended to wait 2-3 months before getting the new COVID vaccine. This new monovalent COVID vaccine is available at most local retail pharmacies, and might also become available at select primary care offices pending supply.

RSV Vaccine

RSV is a common respiratory virus that causes cold-like symptoms. While most people experience mild illness and recover within a week or two, RSV can pose a serious risk to certain seniors and infants. The RSV vaccine is recommended for patients over 60 years old who are at high risk for complications due to RSV. If you are 60+ and are generally healthy, you are unlikely to have complications from RSV and therefore may not benefit much from the vaccine. If you are uncertain about your risk, please visit the CDC website. The RSV vaccine is now also being recommended for patients who are pregnant between 32-36 weeks of gestation.

If you still have questions, please contact your primary care team for further guidance. Those who opt to receive the RSV vaccine should space out the vaccine from their flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster by at least a couple weeks. At this time, the RSV vaccine is available at most local retail pharmacy, and might become available at select primary care offices pending supply.

There is also a RSV monoclonal antibody, which is recommended for infants 0-8 months entering their first RSV season as well as infants 8-19 months entering their second RSV season with an increased risk of complications due to RSV. The state plans to share more information on the supply and availability of this RSV monoclonal antibody in the coming weeks. It might become available at select primary care offices pending supply. We will stay close to any updates on this front and will keep you apprised. For more information on any of these vaccines, please visit the CDC website for seasonal flu vaccinations, and vaccinations for COVID-19.