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Pharmacist offers guidance for safely being vaccinated against COVID and the flu

Healthbeat

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Even though most of us have been doing our best to avoid getting COVID-19, health officials say it’s also important to avoid the flu which can also prove fatal.

Flu cases were way down last season due largely to COVID precautions, but medical experts fear that could change. Flu cases in the U.S. from fall 2020 to spring 2021 barely broke 2,000 which is an all-time low. However, that could change radically this season.

The question is: should you get your flu shot during the same visit as a COVID shot? We turned to a local pharmacy for some answers.

Cynthia Das showed up at Harrold’s Pharmacy for her COVID booster shot by Pfizer which just last week was okayed by the FDA and CDC. But she also has another vaccine on her mind. She was curious about receiving the COVID shot and the flu shot on the same day.

The CDC says it’s totally okay to get both the COVID booster and flu shot in the same visit.

“It’s been published that it is safe and effective. The only thing you’ve got to do is just have it in different arms,” Harrold’s Pharmacy owner and pharmacist, Bruce Lefkowitz said.

Lefkowitz is providing guidance for people like Dorzinsky as we enter a second flu season during the COVID pandemic.

Some people may be concerned getting both vaccines at the same time may increase side effects. Lefkowitz says not so.

“That’s why I asked. And he did say I could take it today but I’m just going to wait anyway and take it next week,” said Das.

The CDC says now is the time to plan for your flu shot. A new flu season typically starts in early to mid-October and lasts through early spring.

“Flu takes many lives a year so it’s something that can be prevented,” said Lefkowitz. “So this will save you another trip over here.”

65-year-old Mark Dorzinsky age-qualifies for the Pfizer booster shot. He got that, which he planned to do all along on this visit, then, rolled up his other sleeve for the flu vaccine after asking if it will affect him in different ways.

“Bruce said no and, well, I’m here,” said Dorzinsky.

Lefkowitz hopes others will soon follow and not forget about their flu shot with so much focus on the Pfizer booster.

“We’re starting to see more people asking about the flu vaccine so I’m hoping that people are going to be more accepting of vaccines in general so we’re hoping that flu vaccine administration is going to go up this year,” Lefkowitz said.

Keep in mind, it takes about two weeks for your immune system to “rev up” from the flu vaccine and protect you from the flu. Lefkowitz says he hopes those coming in for the COVID booster will get their flu shot at the same time since it’s convenient and then won’t forget about it.

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