Fall has arrived, the weather is still warm, and yet it’s time to talk about getting your shots—the immunization kind. Why, you ask? COVID-19 is still in town, and the flu is making its way. Both the flu and COVID-19 viruses can cause severe illness, hospitalization, and/or death. Stay safe and protected by getting immunized!
Australia just experienced its worst flu season in five years, which is a precursor that has U.S. health experts concerned we could be in for a challenging flu season. That’s why doctors are recommending that you protect yourself now with the best tool we have: your COVID-19 and flu vaccines.
Recent data shows that the COVID-19 and flu vaccines are safe (when taken as recommended) and highly effective in preventing serious illness and hospitalization. Simply put, you stand a significantly better chance of fighting these viruses with the vaccines than without.
Updated Shots Are Available
This season, new vaccines are available. The flu vaccines have been updated to account for the common strains of the Influenza viruses circulating. And those aged 65 and older should ask for the recommended extra strength flu vaccine to ensure a stronger immune response.
For COVID-19, there are updated Moderna and Pfizer boosters (bivalent) available. These updated boosters target both the original COVID-19 strains and the Omicron strains that you are most likely to be exposed to now and in the future. There is also a new type of vaccine from Novavax; this vaccine is not mRNA based and is instead protein-based like the flu vaccine. For more information and to find a convenient vaccination location, visit myturn.ca.gov.
When Should I Get My Shots?
Get the flu shot as soon as possible so that you are protected as early as possible. Flu season lasts anywhere from October through May, so now is the right time to get your flu shot.
Eligibility for COVID-19 boosters is dependent on your personal situation. Most individuals are eligible to get a bivalent booster now. Please see the COVID-19 Vaccine Timing Chart (PDF) for more information.
If eligible, you can get flu and COVID-19 shots at the same time, one shot in each arm.
How Do I Get My Shots?
You can get your flu vaccine and COVID-19 boosters with your primary care provider or health plan. They are covered by your CalPERS health plan. Additionally, your local county offices may offer vaccine clinics throughout the fall. For more locations and information, visit myturn.ca.gov.