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This winter will be the first time vaccines for RSV, flu, and COVID-19 will be available

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Posted at 6:55 PM, Aug 18, 2023

Health officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning of a possible tripledemic this fall, which means RSV, the flu, and COVID-19 variants circulating at once.

With three different diseases and three different vaccine options, it can get complicated.

“All three are respiratory viruses. [For] all three the bad outcome has to do with pneumonia or pneumonia-like diseases. That's what we're trying to prevent," said Dr. Brian Roberts, Med Stop Madonna Plaza Medical Director.

This winter will be the first-time vaccines for RSV, the flu, and COVID-19 will be available.

“It's an exciting year for vaccinations because it's the first year we've really had one for respiratory syncytial virus, otherwise known as RSV," said Dr. Chuck Merrill with Marian Regional Medical Center.

In July of 2023, the FDA approved an RSV vaccine for those 60 years or older. A new drug has also been approved that will help prevent RSV in toddlers and babies.

RSV is more common in the winter while COVID-19 has become an “endemic”.

“During these recent spikes, we're getting in four, five, and six a day, so it's not as big as it was a year ago, but we're seeing a significant amount right now," Dr. Roberts added.

This fall, we could see all three.

“Everything we've seen recently is still versions of Omicron, but it keeps changing enough where a change in the vaccine might make it more effective. That's the hope and so this updated booster, which is the term you'll hear, should be available by the end of September," Dr. Roberts explained.

“There are two types of flu — influenza A and influenza B. [Influenza] A usually comes first, and it comes usually in November and December and can linger on through even February and March. Influenza B typically follows that," Dr. Merrill said.

Health experts say each vaccine has its own criteria and eligibility requirements and that it’s best to check with your primary doctor.

“The FDA has to come out with whether or not they're recommending them to be taken together, but if the past vaccines are any indication, there's no reason not to take them together. I would recommend and we would recommend that anybody who's eligible should get access to the vaccines," Dr. Merrill said.