The flu shot is a very common vaccine that most people get every fall and winter. In addition to this yearly vaccine, people are also getting their COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots. This has led some to wonder if they need both vaccines.
The Basics of Vaccines
Vaccines are created in order to prevent the spread of disease. When you get a vaccine, you’re injected with a small or weakened portion of the virus or bacteria causing a disease. This will then imitate an infection in your body and your immune system learns how to fight it off. Then, if the disease is spread to you, your body already knows how to fight it off and prevent you from getting sick. When you receive a vaccine, it’s common to have mild symptoms, such as a fever, as your immune system deals with the virus or bacteria. This usually passes in just a few days.
COVID-19 began to rapidly spread worldwide in early 2020. This virus causes a variety of symptoms including cough, fever/chills, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, headache, congestion, and more. It is spread when infected individuals breathe out water droplets. Others can inhale these droplets or come into contact with them on other surfaces.
Due to COVID-19’s spread, a vaccine was developed to create immunity within the population and decrease its continued spread. There are several COVID-19 vaccines and many are administered in two doses. It’s also encouraged that you get a COVID-19 booster shot if you have a weaker immune system or to protect yourself in case your immune response has weakened since you had your last vaccine.
Influenza, or the flu, is another respiratory viral infection. This infection affects the lungs, nose, and throat. It has similar symptoms to COVID-19 including fever, chills, cough, congestion, fatigue, and headache. With vaccines for some diseases, it’s possible to get one vaccine and be fully protected. However, the flu requires you to get a yearly shot. This is because there are multiple strains of the influenza virus and they mutate from year to year. A new vaccine is made each year to protect against the strain that research predicts will be the most common. Getting a vaccine each year gives you the most protection.
Why You Need Both
COVID-19 and the flu both have very similar symptoms and it’s easy to lump them into the same category. However, as similar as these infections are, they are not the same. They are caused by different viruses and one vaccine will not protect you from both. If you want to stay healthy and boost your immune system, you need to get both vaccines. Your flu shot should be a yearly occurrence. If you have not gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, you should get your initial dosage(s). From then on, you can decide if you should get a COVID-19 booster shot.
Vaccines are a modern marvel that decrease the rapid spread of disease, as well as decrease the number of deaths due to disease. If you want to keep yourself safe, then you should become vaccinated. This will protect both you and those around you.
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