Flu and Covid Vaccines

13 September 2023

Since 2010 the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended a flu shot for everyone 6 months of age or older and that has not changed. Most of us have dealt with the COVID-19 vaccines.


The CDC still recommends vaccinations during the months of September and October. There are some exceptions for which they recommend a July or August shot, but we won’t deal with that today. Some years the flu season lasts into the summer months and then your primary care team can make suggestions based on your age, health, and other factors.

Influenza viruses are constantly changing. That is why some people, even though they were innoculated, come down with the illness, but the symptoms are generally greatly reduced, i.e. you won’t be as sick as you would without the shot. The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) does its best to anticipate the vaccine with the research on what will be the most common strains during the upcoming season. For instance, last season 2022-2023 the estimates show that it was betwwen 40% and 70% effective to prevent hospitalizations or complications. This year we are looking at A/Victoria/4897/2022 (H1N1)pdm09-like and A/Wisconsin/67/2022 (H1N1)pdm09-like.

Those particularly at risk are those adults 65 or older and those who are pregnant in their first and second trimesters. For those individuals they should be vaccinated in September or October. Children who will need two doses should get their first innoculation as soon as the vaccine is available with the second round with at least a four month gap.

Manufacturers continue to produce the drug in an egg-based process. For those who have egg allergies, they should take additional safety measures to prevent a reaction.


On April 19 of this year, the CDC in cooperation with the FDA, issued recommendations that allow greater flexibility.

  • For adults over 65 or who are immunocompromised may request additional doses.
  • Monovalent (original) mRNA COVID-19 are no longer recommended in the United States.
  • An updated (bivalent) mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for anyone 6 years or older even though they may not have completed the original monovalent series.
  • Multiple doses for children will vary by age, which vaccines if any have already been administered, and availability of current vaccines.

Hospitalizations for coronavirus are far below what they once were but the number of incidents continue and in fact increased in recent times. Some businesses and schools are reinstating mask requirements. This is a further indication that the original vaccines wear down over time. Those who are most vulnerable should seriously consider the new round of shots.

Roll outs are expected the middle of this month but are still waiting on FDA and CDC approvals and sign off. The updated drugs are planned to target XXB 1.5 that started circulating in June and to combat the EG.5 (“eris”). These all seem to be stemming from omicron, so the experts are relatively confident that the 2023-2024 vaccines will provide good protection. In addition, everyone is keeping an eye open on BA 2.86 and how it is mutating.

Check with your primary care medical team to see what they say about your particular circumstances.

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