COVID, Flu or RSV? Shots are important for people who are high-risk, officials say

Published: Oct. 27, 2023 at 6:10 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2023 at 6:12 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - For the first time, vaccines for COVID-19, the flu, and respiratory viruses are available in the United States, and with flu season right around the corner, health officials are informing citizens on how to differentiate between knowing if they have either illness.

Public health officials are urging eligible Americans to get vaccines for COVID, the flu, and respiratory viruses. So, the nation can avoid a “tripledemic”.

Owner of Acute Care Emergence Terri Jordan said these shots are important for people who are high risk.

‘’Because we still have people that are being hospitalized for COVID. So, if you are a high-risk person, then it is definitely advisable to get the booster, but if you have, you know, young healthy kids and young healthy adults that you know, they can certainly get it if that’s their preference.” Jordan said. “But I definitely recommend those that are high risk.’’

While the symptoms of COVID and flu are similar, the information coordinator for The Department of Health, Pamela Kirkland, said one comes on stronger than the other.

‘’But the thing that we seem to see more with flu than with COVID is that flu seems to come on really strong and COVID sometimes takes its time, and the symptoms don’t come on as quickly as with flu,” she said.

Flu, COVID, and RSV shots are available, and you can take them all at the same time with one exception.

‘’If you’re getting the flu shot versus flu mist, so you should never take other immunizations when you’re getting a live virus because it mounts a different immune response, but you can definitely get both of those if they’re both the injectables because they’re not live viruses that you’re getting, and the way that they trigger your immune response is different. So, they are ok to get, but you should not take the flu shot if you’re having any current symptoms,’’ said Jordan.

Kirkland said the best thing to do is stay at home if you are sick or feel under the weather.

‘’The only real way to know If you have the flu or COVID is to get a test. So, you can get a flu test, you can get a covid test. So that’s the one true way you’ll know what you have,” she said.

Keep in mind the RSV Vaccine is only for people over 60-years-old.