"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

What you must learn about flu, COVID and RSV vaccinations

September 5, 2023 – Make way, flu shot. This fall, the list of seasonal vaccines is longer, more complicated, and will cost more. In addition to the flu shot, COVID-19 booster shots are expected to be available by mid-September, and a latest RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) vaccine is here.

With that news comes a number of questions, including who can safely forgo the COVID booster this time, why some who’re eligible for the RSV vaccine must pay for the shot out of pocket, and whether one vaccine must be considered more essential than others. Then there's the back-and-forth about how essential it’s to get the COVID booster in the identical arm as last time. (And did everyone write down which arm that was?) And are you able to get all three shots directly and call it a day?

In addition, there’s an issue that health experts cannot yet answer: Will the population accept all, some or none of those vaccines?

The range: from desirous to drained

When it involves vaccines, the population is usually divided into three groups, said Dr. Aaron Glatt, chief of infectious diseases and hospital epidemiologist at Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside, N.Y., and spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

One group trusts the science and the method and can take the beneficial vaccines, he said. “Some, a significant minority, are vaccine skeptical. You have to show them the data and explain to them why it's important to them.” Another group will reject all vaccines, he said, “no matter what.”

“We have people who can't wait to get their vaccinations,” agreed Luis Ostrosky, MD, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology at UTHealth Houston and Memorial Hermann Health System, who can also be a spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. They often call the clinic wondering once they can get their vaccinations. “Then we have people who are completely [vaccine] tired.”

Ask your mates and acquaintances for his or her opinion. You might get the identical result as a casual Facebook poll – the reactions are very different:

  • “I am required to get a flu and COVID vaccination because of my job. I would do it even if it wasn't mandatory.”
  • “We’re going to get them all.”
  • “I will definitely get all the vaccinations every year because without them we would go back to the days when people were affected by diseases like polio, tuberculosis, chickenpox, etc. their whole lives.”
  • “I have not and will not receive any of these vaccines.”
  • “Boogie at full speed. All vaccinations.”

Here you’ll find out what is understood in regards to the vaccines and what still must be determined.

COVID Booster

In June, the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) recommended The COVID-19 vaccines scheduled to be utilized in the United States starting this fall can be updated to a monovalent vaccine against the omicron variant XBB.1.5.

Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax are expected to supply the updated vaccines and the FDA is anticipated to approve them soon.

In the two-week period ending September 2, the omicron variant, often called EG.5 or Eris, was accountable for 21.5% of U.S. COVID cases, which CDC reported, most of all variants. According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America, The updated vaccines also needs to protect against this variant.

As of August 23, the CDC surveillance one other latest variant, BA.2.86, with 37 reports worldwide (including 4 within the US). Scientists are studying how well the updated boosters work against it.

When: Updated COVID vaccines are expected by mid-September, CDC Director Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, said in a Video statement End of August. The first step is the FDA’s regulatory motion, then the CDC gets involved. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is planned will meet on September 12 and vote on recommendations for the COVID boosters. The CDC will then review the ACIP recommendations and make its advice. The boosters may very well be available soon after.

Who needs this? The advisory committee and the CDC will make those recommendations. In the meantime, experts said some people might have that booster shot more urgently than others. “Very old people who have not been vaccinated in the past 4 to 6 months, people with severe immunodeficiency who have not been vaccinated in the past 4 to 6 months, and people in high-risk groups who have not been vaccinated in the past year are reasonable suggestions,” Glatt said. At that time, he said, “it's very reasonable for some people to decide they don't need an additional vaccination at this time.”

Cost: As the U.S. government phases out its COVID-19 vaccination program, COVID vaccines are coming to the industrial market. Those with insurance will likely be covered. Health insurers are following the recommendations of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices relating to vaccines, said James Swann, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an industry group. However, he said it just isn’t yet known for whom the updated COVID vaccine can be beneficial.

The CDC provides access through the Vaccines for children Program and the temporary Bridge access The program is scheduled to launch this fall for uninsured or underinsured adult Americans.


The FDA has approved two latest vaccines to guard against RSV in older adults. This potentially fatal respiratory infection ends in hospitalizations of 60,000 to 160,000 adults age 65 and older and 6,000 to 10,000 deaths on this age group every year. GlaxoSmithKline's RSV vaccine is Arexvy and Pfizer's is Abrysvo. On August 21, the FDA also approved Abrysvo as the primary RSV vaccine for pregnant women between 32 and 36 weeks of pregnancy to guard the infant. In addition to older adults, infants are very liable to RSV.

Who needs this? The CDC said Adults over 60 can get vaccinated after consulting with their doctor. The CDC has not yet made recommendations on RSV vaccination for moms. According to a CDC spokesperson, the agency and its advisers are working to set a date to debate those recommendations. That meeting is anticipated to happen before the top of October.

Cost: Those who’ve Medicare Part D, the drug insurance, are covered for the RSV vaccine. Those who wouldn’t have Part D should not covered and the associated fee will be greater than $300. As for personal medical insurance, “health insurers are preparing to roll out the insurance, although it may take some time to get the processes in place and coverage may vary depending on the type of insurance a person has,” said the insurance industry's Swann.


Flu vaccines are already available for the 2023-2024 flu season.

Who needs this? CDC advisors recommend that everybody ages 6 months and older get a flu shot, ideally in September or October.

For the primary time, the CDC has declared that those with Egg allergies can get any flu vaccine. Most flu vaccines are made with small amounts of protein, but the chance of a severe allergic response is small, the CDC explains the change.

Cost: “Influenza vaccination coverage will continue to be routine, as it has been in recent years,” Swann said. Medicare Part B Covers the flu shot every yr. Flu shots are a part of preventive care required by the Affordable Care Act and are free with most insurance coverage.


Is it higher to get these vaccines one after the opposite, abruptly, or COVID and flu, then RSV? And which arms? Last yr, some people got the flu and COVID booster shots at the identical time, with no problems, Glatt said. “You can get all three at the same time. We just don't have much experience with that.”

If someone has had significant unwanted effects from vaccinations up to now, he said, “it probably makes sense to distribute them.”

Ostrosky says she recommends that patients wait just a few weeks after receiving the COVID and flu shots before getting the RSV vaccine to make certain any reactions have subsided. However, for a pregnant person seeking to get the RSV vaccine, that order could also be different depending on how far along the pregnancy is.

According to the CDC, It is permissible to manage each the flu vaccine and the COVID vaccine at the identical time, either in separate arms or in the identical, although a study found that responses increased by roughly 8 to 11% when each were administered concurrently.

A COVID booster shot in the identical arm because the COVID vaccine can provide more protection, a study found.

There is a few debate in regards to the “ideal” time to get a flu shot. Some people wish to wait until the top of September, for instance, in order that protection lasts throughout the flu season. Glatt recommends getting vaccinated when a flu outbreak is already raging in your area.

To reduce unwanted effects, some people take a “preventive” dose of painkillers. Glatt doesn't recommend that approach, nonetheless. Instead, he suggests taking them to combat unwanted effects as they occur. “Most people don't need to take anything,” he said.

Expectations and unwanted effects

Communication with friends and on social media before vaccination can influence the chance of unwanted effects. Research suggests. Andrew L. Geers, PhD, a professor of psychology on the University of Toledo in Ohio, and colleagues asked 551 people how much they listened to comments about vaccine unwanted effects in social media posts, news reports, and firsthand accounts from acquaintances before vaccination. They then asked about unwanted effects after vaccination.

“We found that people who saw more social media posts about the side effects of the vaccine reported more side effects,” he said. “The same was true for people who heard more negative comments from family and friends.”

Listening to news reports, he found, had no effect on whether people had more adversarial reactions, although he doesn't know exactly why. He speculated that communicating through social media and talking to acquaintances is more more likely to involve individuals with whom we have already got social ties, “something that can make communication more persuasive.”

Geers said he doesn’t rule out the proven fact that some people react to vaccines and people reactions shouldn’t be ignored. His advice: Don't expect the worst. “Instead of thinking about all the negative side effects, focus on the positive – what you are doing for yourself, your family and your health.”