Be ready for the fall virus season

September 11, 2023

Be ready for the fall virus season

Anytime between now and mid-October is an ideal time to receive this year’s flu vaccine to be ahead of an expected rise in transmission this fall, said Dr. John Lynch, a UW Medicine infectious disease specialist.

“We know that influenza vaccination prevents a lot of different things: infection, but also ER visits and clinic visits, hospitalizations, ending up in the ICU, and death,” said Lynch, an associate medical director at Harborview Medical Center.

Lynch said he expects an updated COVID-19 vaccine to be approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the very near future.

The latest data is “indicating a really good match between the newest variants that we're starting to see emerge,” he said. There is currently no official guidance about age- or risk-based eligibility for this updated vaccine, but that information should be available in the coming 1 to 2 weeks.

Precisely forecasting when the flu or COVID-19 will peak is difficult.

“I think people should be thoughtful,” said Lynch. “I don't think we know what's coming down the pike, so to speak, in terms of how high these peaks will be or when they will occur. What we saw last year were peaks in influenza, RSV, and COVID, which was challenging for all of us.”

It is safe to receive the flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time, Lynch said, and does not reduce the protection afforded by either shot.

Download broadcast-ready soundbites on preparing for the fall virus season.

Related: CDC’s COVID-19 vaccines page 

Randy Carnell, UW Medicine

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