If you’ve got a college student home for the holidays, you may have a long to-do list that includes making Target runs, cooking their favorite meal and tackling a semester’s worth of dirty laundry. But adding another item to your list could help keep your college student and family healthy: scheduling their COVID-19 and flu shots.
Colleges deal with COVID-19
The holiday break is an ideal time to book a COVID-19 booster if your college kid is due, especially as some campuses have moved finals online and will require boosters amid concerns about outbreaks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all adults should get a Pfizer or Moderna booster if it has been at least six months since they completed their primary two-dose series with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Adults who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot at least two months ago should get a booster with any of the COVID-19 vaccines available.
Getting boosted against COVID-19 is especially important in light of the new omicron variant, says Michael Lin, MD, MPH, an infectious disease specialist and associate professor at Rush University Medical Center.
“There are many reasons to get boosted,” he says. “We know that the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines wanes over time. There is also the threat of new variants that appear to at least partially evade vaccine protection.” However, early data on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine suggests a booster can help protect against infection from the omicron variant.
Flu cases appear on college campuses
Although this year’s flu season has been mild so far, there have been some flu outbreaks among college students. According to the CDC, most flu cases this season have occurred in children and young adults ages 5 to 24.
“There are plenty of opportunities for flu to spread now that we are getting back to more normal interactions, especially in schools and in the workplace,” Lin says.
The CDC recommends flu shots for everyone six months and older every flu season. Taking a half-hour during your kids’ holiday break to get them vaccinated can reduce their risks of catching and spreading the flu to others, Lin says.
“Not only is this important to keep students and their family members safe, but it also can help students have the best experience at college without the interruptions of being sick,” he says.
You can schedule a flu vaccine for the same time as a COVID-19 shot. “The CDC has been clear that you can get multiple vaccinations at the same visit, and it’s safe to do so,” Lin says.
To get vaccines for your college kid, contact your physician’s office or visit your local pharmacy. You may also schedule a COVID-19 vaccine or booster at our vaccine clinics.