Avera Medical Minute: What to know about this year’s flu and Covid vaccinations

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 5:37 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - With the start of fall, health experts are turning their attention to vaccinations to prepare for another flu season. Coupled with the flu, Covid-19 cases have still been prevalent.

Avera Family Medicine physician Chad Thury spoke with Dakota News Now about the importance of vaccinations and preventing respiratory illnesses.

“So for most people, it’s going to be one shot. If you’re an adult or five and over, you just need one shot,” Dr. Thury said. “With this new COVID shot that’s coming up now, for younger kids, it takes a little while for that immunity to build up and so they’re still recommending it for kids under five. In COVID, you can start getting it six months of age as far as the vaccine, so for six months at age five, then they’re going to recommend doing a series. For Pfizer, that’s a three-part series, for Moderna, it’s a two-part series, and if kids have already started one of those series, at least one shot is recommended to be this new monovalent vaccine that’s coming out.”

With that season approaching, is there a sweet spot for people who should get that shot whether early or later?

“I think it maybe depends. For influenza, I generally say you know, try and do it the end of September into October, if you get to Thanksgiving, or excuse me, if you get to Halloween, it’s usually too late,” Dr. Thury explained. “So that’s kind of the timeframe there for COVID. Just because we’re starting to see a bump already in the number of COVID cases that are out there, I would not delay it. I would tell patients and people to get in as soon as they can here within the next week as the vaccine is going to become available in retail pharmacies, clinics, and so on.”

For people that are getting that any idea of the cost, or is that already going to be covered by insurance in most cases?

“Yeah, in most cases. The new COVID vaccine is going to be covered by insurance,” Dr. Thury explained. “The nice thing is that the government is going to have a what’s called “bridge access program,” where it’s going to bridge people for the next year through December of 2024. That’s for people that have no insurance or are underinsured, so there’s going to be other ways for people to get a COVID vaccination. And then for children, they still have the vaccine for children program that allows coverage or payment for kids that don’t have insurance. or are underinsured. So if you want to COVID shot, there’s good there’s going to be way to get it with little or no cost to people.”

For more information on vaccinations and staying ahead of respiratory illnesses, visit Avera.org/MedicalMinute.