It’s flu season once again, and compounded with COVID-19, Dr. Arthur Gran strongly suggests you take all necessary precautions, including getting the flu and COVID 19 vaccines.  

“It’s recommended that everybody should get both of them, unless you have a particular contraindication,” Dr. Gran, infectious disease specialist at Samaritan Hospital, said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anyone 6 months and older is recommended to get the flu vaccine and COVID-19 initial vaccines. Anyone 5 years and older is recommended to get the COVID-19 booster shot if they’ve already received the first two doses. It is safe to get both vaccines at the same time.

“It does help in reducing the severity of the infection and the need for hospitalization, and the chances of progressing to severe symptoms,” Dr. Gran said.

Dr. Gran shares that widespread immunizations protect not just you, but also those who may be more susceptible to getting severe infection. Additionally, the CDC states that it is important to get both vaccines as protecting yourself against one will not work against the other. Some side effects may include fatigue, chills and muscle pain, among others. People with underlying conditions such as cancer or heart and lung diseases should get the flu vaccine and the COVID booster.

“We’ve been seeing cases of seasonal flu in this area and it’s worth getting the flu shot for that reason,” Dr. Gran said.

Getting the flu vaccine is also how many frontline workers stay on the frontline.

“I care for a high needs population at risk for sicknesses. And I think it’s important every day not only for our patients, but for my family and friends as well,” Alison Drake, nurse practitioner at St. Peter’s Internal Medicine, said.

And if the decision to get both vaccines gets too overwhelming, Dr. Gran has one last piece of advice.

“I do encourage you to go to the, you know, sources like the CDC and the New York State Department of Health. Because there’s a lot of helpful information there that can assist in your understanding of how these vaccines work their safety either effectiveness and recommendations for when and how to get them,” Dr. Gran said.