Flu vaccines, bivalent COVID boosters both in and ready in Hastings

Local4 News at 5
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 10:09 AM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - With the arrival of the fall season also comes the arrival of flu season, and the first wave of flu vaccines are officially in-house in Hastings.

According to South Heartland District Health Department Director Michele Bever, the vaccines are here just in time for what she calls the calm before the storm when it comes to flu season.

”We’re encouraging people to get those flu shots,” she said. “Now is the best time during September and October. That’s when we encourage folks to get it. It’s still okay to get it later. You can still be protected later as well, but we encourage people to get it now.”

Bever said she’s not naive to the fact that we’re also still in the midst of a pandemic when it comes to COVID-19, but for those worried about the shots contradicting themselves or competing against themselves - she said that’s not the case.

”You can get those at the same time, in fact in the same day at the same time, but it’s based on the schedule, so try to get the flu vaccine during September and October, and if you’re eligible for it because of your age, you can get them very safely at the same time,” Bever said.

It’s also well-documented that the flu vaccine wasn’t incredibly effective in 2021. In fact, at certain times throughout the year, effectiveness levels dropped into the 40th percentile. As for how this year will go, Bever said it’s always a well-educated guess.

”There’s a process where they evaluate the circulating versions of the virus, so it’s done in advance,” she said. “It’s a little bit of a best science guess on that, and they include several different components so you have a good chance of having some match. They always make some difference regardless of whether it’s a really close match or not.”