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Availability Expands: Choosing Between Covid, RSV, and Influenza Vaccines


In the United States, vaccines for COVID-19, the flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are now available simultaneously for the first time. Health officials are encouraging eligible individuals to receive all three vaccinations to prevent a “tripledemic” of COVID-19, flu, and RSV that could strain healthcare systems. However, there is uncertainty about whether individuals should take all three shots at once or space them out.

Most people will need to decide whether to receive an updated Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and a flu shot concurrently, as both are readily available. Public health officials and recent research suggest that taking these vaccines together during a single doctor’s visit or pharmacy visit is safe and effective.

Approximately 76.5 million adults aged 60 and older are eligible for a new RSV vaccine from Pfizer or GSK, making it necessary for them to receive all three shots. While health experts generally believe there are no issues with taking all three vaccines at once, there is limited research on administering an RSV shot with another vaccine or giving all three simultaneously. Therefore, individuals can choose to take the RSV vaccine separately if they prefer and receive the other two at a different time.

Ultimately, the choice depends on individual preferences and should be discussed with a healthcare provider. Experts emphasize that there is no evidence of increased risk when taking all three vaccines simultaneously. Convenience is a significant advantage of taking all three shots together, particularly for those with busy schedules who might not return for subsequent doses.

Pharmacies offer the option to schedule multiple vaccine appointments in a single visit, making it easier for individuals to receive all three vaccines simultaneously. However, some people may opt to wait for more data before deciding or may choose to space out the vaccines for physical comfort reasons.

If individuals choose to take the vaccines separately, experts recommend prioritizing the updated COVID-19 vaccine first due to its higher spread rate, followed by the RSV shot and the flu vaccine. Spacing them one week apart may help ensure people complete all three vaccinations.

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