What to know about new COVID vaccine side effects, pairing with flu shot

Chicago
By Chicago 2 Min Read

CHICAGO (WLS) — A new COVID vaccine is now available.

“The recommendation is quite simple now. Everyone who is 6 months or older should receive the updated 2023/2024 COVID vaccine,” said Dr. Stephanie Black, medical director with the Chicago Department of Public Health Disease Control Bureau.

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Dr. Black said the vaccine is available from healthcare providers, pharmacies, hospitals and federally qualified healthcare clinics.

“Natural immunity can help after an infection,” said Dr. Alfredo Mena Lora, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Illinois Chicago. “However, vaccine induced immunity is much more powerful.”

He’s also the medical director of infection prevention at Saint Anthony Hospital.

“Our new vaccine reflects the most recent circulating variants,” Dr. Mena Lora said.

Dr. Black said there has been an increase in cases and hospitalizations.

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“Of course, relative to what things were like a year ago, it’s much less than what we saw back a year ago,” Black said.

As for the order in which you should get the COVID and flu vaccines, “You can really get them all at the same visit. There’s no recommendation necessarily to stagger them. Certainly you can choose to get one and then the other. But if you’re able to get them in one visit, that’s completely fine as well,” Mena Lora said.

For free COVID tests, visit www.covid.gov/tests.

For information on extended COVID home test expiration dates, visit www.fda.gov.

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