It’s important to keep your seasonal vaccinations up-to-date. This includes COVID-19 and the flu — as well as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), for those at risk. These latest vaccines are designed to combat current and expected strains.
According to Anthony Chong, MD, a family medicine physician and chief medical officer at Scripps Coastal Medical Center, there are many benefits of getting vaccinated. Among them are preventing serious illness, being hospitalized and dying.
“Getting vaccinated is a more secure path to immunity than falling ill from infections,” Dr. Chong notes. “Even for those who’ve already been sick or hospitalized due to infections, vaccines provide an extra layer of defense. The best way to stay protected is to keep your vaccinations current.”
Here’s what you need to know about the COVID-19, flu and RSV vaccines, according to Dr. Chong.
COVID-19: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises the revised vaccine —designed for newer virus variants — for everyone aged 6 months and up. Prior vaccinations don't affect eligibility.
Flu: The optimal time to receive the flu vaccine is in the fall before flu viruses begin spreading in your community, according to the CDC. And, for those wondering, it’s perfectly OK to take both the flu, RSV and COVID-19 vaccines concurrently.
RSV: There are two new RSV products that have recently gained approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The first vaccine targets adults aged 60 and above, as well as pregnant women between 32 to 36 weeks of gestation. These are available at Scripps through primary care and OB/GYN providers during your regular appointments and in our retail pharmacies.
The second product targets infants and newborns to protect them from RSV the first season after birth. Due to a nationwide shortage, this product is being offered at Scripps to infants weighing less than 11 pounds during regular newborn visits.
Q: What’s new with the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: Updated COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for everyone 6 months and older and are available at most places you would normally go to get your vaccines. You can also visit the MyScripps patient portal to schedule an appointment at one of our Scripps HealthExpress locations or ask your primary care provider at your next appointment.
The benefits of this vaccine outweigh potential risks, and for people with health insurance, most plans will cover COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to you. Uninsured or underinsured adults can go to vaccines.gov to find COVID-19 vaccines at no cost to them.
Q: What should I know about the variants and the updated vaccine's efficacy?
A: The current COVID-19 vaccines are efficient against the latest variants, including BA.2.86. They remain the best protection against severe illness.
Q: Are the previous bivalent vaccines still valid?
A: No, they are no longer approved for use.
Q: What does the CDC recommend in terms of the COVID-19 vaccine dosage?
A: Everyone 6 years and older should get one updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shot. Those 65 and older or with compromised immune system, might need additional doses. Children between 6 months to 5 years might require multiple doses depending on their age and previous vaccinations.
Scripps is exclusively offering the Moderna vaccine.
Q: What if I haven’t received an COVID-19 vaccine before or completed my prior vaccine series?
A: Prior vaccinations don’t affect your ability to receive the updated COVID-19 vaccine.
Q: If I just got a COVID booster, when can I get the new vaccine?
A: You can get the new vaccine at least two months after receiving your booster.
Q: How can I get the updated COVID-19 vaccine in San Diego County?
A: Updated COVID-19 vaccine doses are available by appointment and by walk-in at most Scripps HealthExpress locations throughout San Diego County. You can also ask your primary care provider about getting a vaccine at your next appointment.
Appointments are also available at other non-Scripps locations throughout San Diego County. Individuals without access to a computer or someone to assist them can call the California Department of Public Health COVID-19 hotline at 833-422-4255. Operators are available who speak English and Spanish, and can access a third-party translator for more than 250 additional languages.
Q: What’s the advice on flu vaccines?
A: It’s essential to get the flu vaccine every year, especially during the fall season. Those 6 months and older should get their yearly shot. Individuals with egg allergies no longer need special post-vaccination monitoring. Scripps offers three ways to get a flu vaccine.
We do not recommend delaying your flu vaccine while waiting for the other vaccines to be available.
Q: Do I need to wait after getting the flu vaccine or any other vaccine prior to getting the COVID vaccine?
A: There is no recommended waiting period between getting a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines. You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including a flu vaccine and an RSV vaccine at the same time.
Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, and possible side effects after getting vaccinated are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines.
Q: How can I protect myself against RSV this year?
A: Two new products have recently gained approval to protect against RSV. The first targets adults aged 60 and above, as well as pregnant women between 32 to 36 weeks of gestation. These are available at Scripps through primary care and OB/GYN providers during your regular appointments and in our retail pharmacies. It’s best to consult your physician before getting vaccinated to see if an RSV vaccine is appropriate for you.
The second RSV product is a monoclonal antibody, which is FDA-approved for newborns and infants up to 24 months and at risk for RSV. Due to a nationwide shortage, this product is being offered at Scripps to infants weighing less than 11 pounds during regular newborn visits. Please consult with your Scripps pediatrician if you have any questions.