With cold & flu season ahead, when should you get your vaccines in the fall?

Posted at 5:53 AM, Aug 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-30 08:10:53-04

(WXYZ) — Kids are returning to school and with fall on the way, cold and flu season isn't too far off either.

Looking ahead, it could be a busy season with cold, flu, COVID-19 and monkeypox all in circulation. While there are vaccines for many of them, it raises a lot of questions about timing.

Dr. Teena Chopra, a professor of infectious diseases at Wayne State University, said that based on what's happening in the southern hemisphere, flu season could be really bad.

We often get an idea of the flu season based on what's happening. The potentially tough flu season is just one reason to get vaccinated. If you're one of the Michiganders in line for a flu shot, COVID-19 booster and possibly the monkeypox vaccine, Chopra says in most cases you can get them at the same time.

"You know, especially people who don't want to make multiple trips to get their vaccine shots," Chopra said.

She says the limited number of people eligible for the monkeypox vaccine can also get that shot at the same time. The Live-attenuated monkeypox vaccine may require special consideration but it is not used nearly as much as the inactive version.

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Dr. Matthew Sims of Beaumont Health says for some people, getting multiple vaccines at once will be no issue. Others may feel a lot of fatigue. Since the vaccines are given in different spots on the body, some may experience twice the tenderness.

"Instead of having one sore arm, you might have two sore arms," he said.

Sims says any extra fatigue comes from your body responding to multiple vaccine prompts. What about kids who may be getting their routine childhood vaccines in addition to flu and COVID-19?

"Go to your pediatrician for your children. If they are scheduled to get other vaccines at the same time, some of them would be live vaccines," Chopra said.

Live vaccines not given on the same day need to be separated by at least a month, but your child’s doctor is used to reworking vaccine schedules, they do it every day.

As for the fall forecast, look for a rebound of flu and continued COVID-19 cases.

"I expect we'll see more. I expect we'll see flu with COVID together. We don't know how that's going to play out yet. RSV is back. You know, it's going to be a more normal season that way," Sims said.

RSV is a respiratory virus that we have all likely had, but can be dangerous in the very young and in seniors.

As for monkeypox, the hope is the vaccine effort this fall will really help get monkeypox under control.

That and the nature of the pox viruses - like chicken pox, smallpox or cowpox. Once you get them you are immune and don’t get it again.