SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Health care providers are making a push for people to get COVID boosters and flu shots before the holidays.
They said now is the time to get the vaccines in order for them to reach full effectiveness before Christmas and Kwanzaa.
Dr. Vanessa Walker, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Sutter Roseville Medical Center, said the region is seeing an increase in COVID and influenza cases with more serious infections coming from the flu.
Walker said both the COVID booster and flu vaccines take about two weeks to reach maximum effectiveness, so patients who want to get them in time for holiday gatherings only have a few days left. For instance, getting the vaccine on Dec. 7 would allow time for the shot to reach full effectiveness by Dec. 21 and getting the shots on Dec. 10 would make them effective by Dec. 24, Christmas Eve.
"It's really important before we start going to holiday gatherings that we get up to date on those vaccines, not just for adults and for the elderly but for our kiddos. It's really important. RSV is out there and there's not a vaccine for that, so let's protect them against the things we can protect them against," said Dr. Walker.
"Studies have shown time after time that your illness will be much less severe, it will decrease your risk of ending up in the hospital very sick and nobody wants to be sick right before the holidays," she added.
Dr. Walker said it's safe to get the COVID booster and flu shot at the same time. ABC10 asked her about how that might impact the side effects:
"I've spoken to many people including myself and my family and there has not been any increase in side effects, and in fact, the boosters, it really depends on the person. Some people didn't notice anything and some people didn't feel great for a day, but I'd rather not feel great for a day then end up in the hospital on a ventilator," she said.
In addition to getting vaccinated, Walker said people can add an extra layer of protection by wearing a mask at big gatherings. Ultimately, if anyone feels sick, she said they should just stay home.