How are people juggling getting COVID boosters and the flu shot this year?

BOSTON — More COVID-19 boosters are beginning to be approved by the federal government, and the timing of when people get one can be confusing. People are also juggling the timing of their flu shots this year.

Chris Chandrin and Minaz Kuriakose said they are going to get boosters when they are eligible.

“I got the J&J back in March, but I’m down for getting the booster shot,” Chandrin said.

“I think the moment it is available for anyone in my age group I will get it,” Kuriakose said.

The CDC is still finalizing the booster regimen for all three COVID-19 vaccines, but there are tentative timelines. If you got Pfizer, it would be after six months; Moderna would be somewhere after 8 months; J&J would be after two months.

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Tufts Medical Center Infections Disease Physician and hospital epidemiologist Dr. Shira Doron said J&J’s booster would be needed for a different reason than the other two vaccines.

“It is quite different. Your immunity hasn’t been waning. It is more of an issue of the effectiveness was never as great as for the mRNA vaccines,” Dr. Doron said.

Dr. Doron said vaccines don’t just run out of gas completely. All you are doing with your booster is topping off the tank, so to speak, to help keep your protection level up for longer.

“Whenever you get your booster, it will boost your immunity. So, in other words, your primary series isn’t going to expire,” Dr. Doron said.

On top of COVID boosters, people are also timing out their yearly flu shots. Dr. Doron said it is perfectly safe to get both at the same time.

“You can get them in different arms, you can get them in the same arm, and if you are someone who has a lot of soreness you might decide that you want one arm to have all the soreness so that your dominant arm is free,” Dr. Doron explained. “The only rule there is, if you do get it in the same arm, those injections have to be one inch apart.”

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We asked people if they would consider doing both shots at the same time.

“Oh no, I wouldn’t want to get both the shots on the same day just because I know the second shot was so taxing for me,” Kuriakose said.

“I’ll do my research on my own too, ask a few doctors and specialist there and then definitely I’m down for it,” Chandrin said.

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