In the study, flu antibody responses were better when the flu and RSV vaccines were given alone, Schaffner explained, though more information on the combined vaccine is expected soon. That said, the COVID-19 booster shot and flu shot can be given together (as it was often the case last year), so there’s no need to make separate trips to the doctor’s office or pharmacy.
How often do you need to get all three vaccines?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says you should get your flu shot every year, preferably by the end of October. Remember: Those 65 and older should purchase the high-dose version for optimal protection. (The CDC estimates that 70-85% of flu-related deaths occur in people 65 and older.)
The COVID-19 vaccination schedule is still in flux, although many experts favor an annual vaccination in the fall as the virus enters a seasonal pattern. For now, older adults should heed the advice of health authorities and stick to booster doses. The CDC recently approved a second dose of the bivalent booster for people 65 and older.
As for RSV, Schaffner said the duration of protection provided by the vaccine has not yet been determined. “Preliminary data suggest that protection may last beyond a year,” meaning that annual vaccinations may not be required, he said. “Having said that, stay tuned for future developments.”
If shooting three pitches sounds like a lot to you this fall, consider the alternatives, Presti said. Vaccines “put far less stress on the immune system” than catching one or all of these common viruses and causing serious illness. “I know people are tired of vaccinations, but in order to prevent disease and stay healthy, we have to get used to it.”