Can I get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time?

Yes, you can get the shots in the same visit. When COVID-19 vaccines were first rolling out in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended waiting 14 days between the shots and other immunizations as a precaution. But the agency has since revised its guidelines and says the wait is unnecessary. The CDC and other health experts point to past experience showing that vaccines work as they should and any side effects are similar whether the shots are given separately or in the same visit. “We have a history of vaccinating our kids with multiple vaccines,” says flu specialist Richard Webby of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Staying up to date on all vaccinations will be especially important this year, experts say. Since people were masked and staying home, last year's flu season barely registered. This year, it's unclear how intense the flu season will be with more places reopening. “The worry is that if they both circulate at the same time, we’re going to have this sort of ‘twin-demic,'" Webby says. “The concern with that is that it’s going to put extra strain on an already strained health care system.” The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older, and says ideally everyone should be vaccinated by the end of October. It takes 10 to 14 days for the flu vaccine to take full effect so if you wait until the flu begins circulating, your body may not have time to build up protection. Vaccine options vary by age but include several types of shots or a nasal spray version. One caution: COVID-19, colds and flu all share similar symptoms so if you feel ill, the CDC says to postpone a vaccination appointment until you're better to avoid getting others sick.

Ghost towns: Nursing home staffing falls amid pandemic

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — When Natalie Walters arrived at her father’s nursing home, the parking lot was nearly empty and, inside, the elevator made no stops. On the 13th floor, the lights were off and the TVs silent. The last time she was allowed inside, nine months earlier, aides passed in the hall and a nurse waved from the records room. Now, it felt like a ghost town. One of the few staffers on duty broke the news: Walters was too late and her father was already dead of COVID-19. In the nursing home’s newfound emptiness, the scream she unleashed echoed in the void. “It was so still and quiet,” says Walters, whose description of desolation at the home aligns with records showing its staffing level has fallen over the course of the pandemic. “How alone must he have been.” Even before COVID-19 bared the truth of a profit-driven industry with too few caring for society’s most vulnerable, thin staffing was a hallmark of nursing homes around the country. Now, staffing is even thinner, with about one-third of U.S. nursing homes reporting lower levels of nurses and aides than before the pandemic began ravaging their facilities, an Associated Press analysis of federal data finds.

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