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It’s almost virus season: here’s what you need to know about vaccines

Oct 12, 2023, 5:29 PM | Updated: 5:56 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — With the onset of fall comes respiratory virus season. This year, everyone ages six months and older is recommended to be vaccinated to protect themselves and their families against serious illness.

Joe Dratter is a Clinical Pharmacist with Select Health and explained how vaccines work and what families need to know to stay virus-free this winter.

Influenza Vaccine or “Flu Shot”

“Our influenza vaccine will once again be a quadrivalent, meaning it will protect us from four different strains of influenza,” Dratter said. “This year’s influenza vaccine contains a new Influenza A H1N1 strain to match more closely what virus strains we anticipate will circulate this year.”

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone ages six months and older.

“There are several different version of the flu vaccines, from shots to nasal mists, along with formulations for older adults,” Dratter said. “Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for the right version for you.”

COVID Vaccine

Recently, an updated monovalent COVID vaccine was approved by the FDA and CDC.

“It contains the new Omicron XBB.1.5 strain that should protect against the current variants of COVID that are circulating in our community right now,” Dratter said.

The CDC is also recommending the COVID vaccine for everyone ages six months and older.

“The timing of this vaccine might be different, based on when you last received a COVID vaccination,” Dratter said. “If you are at risk for severe complications, such as being over age 65 or have a compromised immune system, you should get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available as long as it has been at least 2 months since your last COVID vaccine. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the best timing for you.”

What Else Can I do to Stop the Spread of Disease?

• Be up-to-date on your vaccinations. Everyone in the family (over the age of 6 months) should get be vaccinated.

• Wash your hands often and well, and have children do the same.

• Cover your sneezes and coughs.

• Use a tissue once, then throw it away and wash your hands.

• If you’re sick, stay home from school or work. Wear a mask, being sure it covers your nose and mouth snuggly.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick, if possible.

For information on influenza or flu shots, visit https://intermountainhealthcare.org/vaccines, or see your primary care doctor.

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It’s almost virus season: here’s what you need to know about vaccines