You can get the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time. Don't delay, doctors say

Doctors say they're seeing more people getting sick with the flu, and with another variant gaining ground, experts say there's no better time to get both your flu shot and your booster.

Just before the pandemic, 75-year-old Les Spitza of Lancaster lost his wife of 44 years.

"It's been tough being without her and tough being in isolation," he said.

This Christmas, Spitza wants to celebrate with his family in person.

"I wanted to be around my kids, my grandkids and great grandkids. Without the booster and the vaccine, they wouldn't have allowed me to see them at all," Spitza said.

Besides a COVID booster, Spitza got another shot which he feels is just as important.

"Everybody seems to be ignoring the flu," Spitza said.

"People don't respect flu the way they should,'' said infectious disease specialist Dr. David Bronstein with Kaiser Permanente.

Just like COVID-19, he says influenza can spread through asymptomatic people.

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"Up to about half of people who have a flu infection don't have symptoms, don't even know they're sick, but can still spread the flu," he said.

Bronstein said if you get the flu, it can tax your immune system, making it possible to get COVID - or the other way around.

"Influenza in many people can be just as bad as COVID, if not worse in some cases. The flu itself has always been a problem for kids. In fact, kids are the ones who don't just get the flu, they're the ones who spread the flu," Bronstein said.

With the focus on COVID vaccines, many are behind in getting their flu shots.

"If you're not caught up on any of your other vaccines, you can get them all at the same time. We routinely do that with kids," he said.

You can get them in different arms, but that's a personal preference. The most important thing is to get the flu shot - especially if you're elderly, young, immunocompromised or pregnant.

"Anybody can have a bad case of flu. All of us need to protect ourselves," Bronstein said.

Spitza wants this holiday season to be joyous and safe.

"I'm going to make sure that my family and anybody... friends that I talk with, get the flu shot because it's important," Spitza said.

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