The cold weather is on its way to Missouri soon. That means chances for catching the flu or COVID-19 increases.

Lynelle Paro, with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, predicts an increase in case numbers once the cold begins to set in. She said that the COVID-19 vaccine is becoming a yearly vaccine like you would with the flu.

“It’s very important as you get together for all of these holiday seasons that are coming about to be sure that you’re getting vaccinated early,” said Paro. “You know, a couple weeks before we get into those holiday seasons, usually around the first part of October is a good time to be getting vaccinated for both and you can do both in the same day.”

She said that the new COVID-19 variant has led to an increase in cases, but not to the extent predicted.

Paro said that there is a reason you cannot get vaccinated for both flu and COVID in one shot.

“They are separate viruses and you have the vaccine for flu that will attack the flu and COVID for COVID,” according to Paro. “They are not the same or interchangeable.”

Regarding availability, the COVID shots can be found at your nearest pharmacy.

“We (also) have some federally qualified health centers that are carrying the adult COVID for the uninsured and underinsured population,” Paro said. “Most of your healthcare providers are ordering that vaccine directly from McKesson or Pfizer and then the children who qualify for the Vaccines for Children Program can go to their pediatrician.”

Paro recommends getting the COVID vaccine annually, like the yearly flu shot.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.