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Navigating fall health: Preparing for Flu, RSV, and COVID-19

"You can get the COVID-19 and flu vaccine together, but it is not recommended to get the COVID-19, flu, and RSV vaccine together," the Maine CDC said.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — As the autumn leaves start to change and temperatures drop, many people eagerly anticipate the arrival of fall. 

However, this season also brings with it some unwelcome visitors — the flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). 

Additionally, the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19 are a source of concern. With COVID-19 cases on the rise as well, questions about vaccine distribution, the distinctions between these three viruses, and what comes next have become increasingly important.

Medical experts are emphasizing the importance of getting vaccinated during this time of year. With children back in school and more people spending time indoors, the risk of viral transmission is elevated. Experts advise that now is the time to get your vaccines.

According to pharmacies across the state, they are fully stocked with flu and RSV vaccines. Some regions are even preparing for the rollout of a COVID-19 booster as early as Friday.

Emily Wilson, the Maine pharmacy district manager at CVS, said, "There is obviously a lot of things going around right now, but the flu is always something that is very important to get. Especially during this time of year, right before the fall, it's good to get it so you have the best immune response as possible to it."

It's important to note that different flu vaccines are available, tailored to different allergies and age ranges. 

Moreover, the Maine CDC said that flu, COVID-19, and RSV vaccines will come at no cost. However, timing your vaccinations is essential.

Puthiery Va, director of the Maine CDC, said, "You can get the COVID-19 and flu vaccine together, but it is not recommended to get the COVID-19, flu, and RSV vaccine together."

If you've recently received a COVID booster, it's advisable to prioritize the RSV vaccine. We are still monitoring whether COVID, like the flu, will become seasonal or peak at specific times of the year.

Experts predict that the COVID-19 vaccine will eventually become as commonplace as getting your annual flu shot. 

"Once we start to understand that, we can time the vaccine along with it, which is what we are doing right now. We anticipate a rise in COVID along with flu and RSV, so we have care, test, and treatment in place," Va said. 

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