ROCHESTER, Minn. - In 2020, influenza almost didn't exist because we were masked up everywhere and kept our distance from others.
With COVID-19 and flu possibly spreading at the same time this winter, along with a third respiratory virus called RSV, one Mayo Clinic doctor we spoke with is concerned about the potential stress it will put on the health care system.
The CDC is recommending that people get a COVID-19 booster dose 8 months after their second shot. For many people, that's going to fall right in the middle of when they would also be receiving their flu vaccine. "I think this winter is going to be important for people to be more cautious because we have delta variant floating around, we have RSV potentially still there and we will have influenza," said infectious disease expert, Dr. Abinash Virk.
So can you get both vaccines at the same time? The answer is yes because the two viruses are completely different.
Dr. Virk said this year, all flu vaccines available will be quadrivalent, meaning they will protect against four different flu viruses. While the COVID-19 vaccine offers protection against the coronavirus and all of its variants. "The COVID-19 virus attacks one particular spark through one particular spike protein while the flu virus doesn't have that," she explained. "It does have something similar, but it's not the same type of protein."
Dr. Virk explained the symptoms of COVID-19, the flu and RSV are all very similar. So, the best thing you can do is mask up, stay home if you're not feeling well and get tested for COVID-19.