COVID-19-Influenza Combination Vaccines: What Your Family Needs to Know
Have you received your annual flu shot? How about the updated 2023 COVID-19 booster? Maybe you’re due for other routine immunizations like TDAP or shingles? With so many vaccines available, busy families sometimes struggle to stay current with their immunizations.
Fortunately, vaccine researchers are working to lessen this burden. Advances in medical science allow scientists to combine two vaccines into one shot. The COVID-19-influenza combination vaccine is designed to offer protection from multiple viral strains. This new vaccine helps patients to stay up-to-date on their immunizations. Keeping communities immunized can save lives. Vaccines also prevent long-term health complications from COVID-19 or the flu.
What are the Symptoms of COVID-19 and Influenza?
Most Americans are already familiar with cold and flu symptoms. But it can be difficult to determine which virus is making you sick. Symptoms can vary. Keep in mind that seasonal colds often cause:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Low-grade fever
The flu might cause:
- Dry cough
- High fever
- Body aches
The current strains of COVID-19 may cause any of the symptoms above. COVID-19 can also present with:
- Loss of taste or smell
- Shortness of breath
When in doubt, contact your doctor or take a COVID-19 rapid test. Testing can help you determine what’s causing your symptoms.
Is COVID-19 Still a Threat?
In May 2023, the US government declared the end of the COVID-19 emergency. As a result, many Americans now believe that COVID-19 is a thing of the past. Sadly, COVID-19 is still circulating across the globe. According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost 250,000 Americans died of COVID-related health concerns in 2022. Numbers have declined in 2023. But COVID remains a significant threat, especially to vulnerable groups like older adults.
Americans can help keep communities safe by staying up-to-date with their booster shots. Clinical research shows that vaccines slow the spread of COVID-19, especially during the winter months. They can also reduce the risk of severe illness or death among those who catch the coronavirus. But as COVID-19 mutates, researchers must update the vaccine. Humans and viruses are now locked in an arms race, and humans are fighting to stay on top.
Should I Worry About Influenza?
Many healthy adults believe that COVID-19 and influenza aren’t a serious threat. Some adults may have contracted the virus and experienced only mild symptoms. But COVID-19 and the flu remain dangerous, even for the young and healthy. During the 2019-2020 flu season, the United States saw up to 25,000 flu-related deaths. Up to 390,000 people were hospitalized with complications associated with influenza. Some of these patients were children or otherwise healthy adults. A nasty bout of flu can keep kids out of school and parents out of work. The flu can also put medically vulnerable people in the hospital.
Many people who contract the flu recover at home with rest and fluids. But some develop complications like pneumonia. If these complications aren’t addressed, they can be fatal. Fortunately, help is available. An annual flu shot helps build immunity and teaches your body to recognize new flu strains. If you’re exposed to these strains later on, your body can go on the defense immediately.
Do I Need Another Vaccine?
Many Americans are tired of rolling up their sleeve for another shot. After several rounds of boosters, some people are tempted to skip their next vaccine. However, annual injections provide your family with the highest level of protection.
Remember that COVID-19 and influenza viruses can mutate. Some viruses, like measles, are stable. They may not change much over the years. But other viruses are highly mutable. That means they change quickly, outwitting our immune systems and slipping past defenses.
As the viruses change, researchers must update their strategy. Each year, researchers adjust vaccines to improve protection against new viral strains. Flu vaccines receive an annual
update to boost protection. As researchers continue to grapple with COVID-19, many recommend a yearly COVID-19 booster, too. A combination vaccine can allow patients to receive protection from multiple dangerous viruses in one shot. Today, researchers are working hard to make these vaccines available.
Are COVID-19-Influenza Combination Shots Available Now?
Combination vaccines aren’t available in pharmacies or clinics just yet. These vaccines are still undergoing clinical research trials.
Are Vaccines Used in Clinical Trials Safe?
Before new vaccines can reach the public, they must undergo strict clinical testing. Vaccines must also receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Rest assured that government agencies work hard to ensure the safety of new vaccines.
Updated booster shots aren’t a brand-new formula. Instead, researchers adjust existing shots to reflect minor changes in the virus’s structure. These adjustments teach our immune system to recognize and defend against new strains. Patients in a clinical trial have the exciting opportunity to help researchers gather valuable information about updated vaccines.
Patients should know that researchers must meet certain safety benchmarks before clinical trials can begin. Participants’ safety is always the top priority. Sometimes, patients may experience mild side effects like muscle soreness or fatigue. Other reactions are very rare, and highly trained researchers track each phase of the vaccine trial.
Clinical trial participants play an essential role in the fight against COVID-19 and influenza. You can help keep your community safe by joining us. Are you ready to learn more about clinical trials or check your eligibility status? M3 Wake Research’s staff are here to answer your questions. We can help you find a clinical trial that’s right for you.