As the weather gets colder and we spend more time indoors, the spread of contagious illnesses such as influenza and COVID-19 increases. The best way to protect yourself against these potentially serious illnesses is to prevent acquiring them in the first place. Vaccinations for both influenza and COVID - 19 decrease the chances of becoming infected if exposed to these viruses. Most importantly, the vaccines help prevent severe illness - significantly reducing the chances of requiring hospitalization or dying from these infections. Also, being vaccinated means you are less likely to pass these infections on to those around you. Do your best to get vaccinated soon. It is essential to protect yourself and others before holiday gatherings and travel.
Here is a little more about the vaccines available:
- There are a couple of formulations - standard dosing and high dose.
- High dose is preferred for those over 65 years old and those with chronic medical conditions that place them at higher risk of more serious infection.
- Flu season typically runs from mid Fall to mid-Spring (about March or April).
- Babies should be vaccinated for influenza during the flu season once they are six months old.
- Babies and children need a booster (2nd dose) the first season they are vaccinated
- Highest risk populations include children under age 2, pregnant women, adults 65 and older, and those with chronic medical conditions. Vaccination is strongly recommended.
- Everyone is encouraged to get a flu shot each Fall!
- COVID vaccine recommendations have evolved through the course of the pandemic
- There are two types of COVID vaccines currently available as of Oct 2023: mRNA (made by Pfizer and Moderna) and protein subunit vaccine called Novavax
- At Northwest Family, we now offer only the Moderna mRNA 2023-2024 COVID vaccine
- There are a lot of age-specific recommendations, and it can be challenging to keep it all straight! Current general recommendations for most individuals ages 5 years and older who have had a COVID vaccine in the past is to get just one dose of the 2023-2024 COVID vaccine booster, which is good for the year and must be at least 8 weeks since your last COVID vaccine. More than one dose is recommended for children 6 months - 4 years, never vaccinated individuals and the immunocompromised. Questions? Ask your doctor how many COVID vaccines you need this year.
For current information on recommended vaccinations, refer to the CDC.
Act now by scheduling a vaccine (nurse) appointment at your clinic, or seek vaccinations where they are accessible in your community. And, if you are not feeling well, keep your germs to yourself! Do what you can to help limit the spread of illness this winter.