Fall vaccines: Here's what to know about RSV, flu and COVID booster shots, plus when you can get them

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Within the next few weeks, several vaccines will become available to help keep you and your loved ones healthy over this fall and winter season, a time when viruses tend to hit the hardest.

NBC Chicago asked health experts to break down what’s coming and who is eligible for each shot.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus)

Starting this fall, new babies have new protection against RSV, a respiratory virus that can lead to hospitalizations for some young infants.

“The RSV vaccine for kids is a monoclonal antibody that is recommended for all children under 8 months of age who are going into their first RSV season,” said Dr. Tina Tan, an infectious disease specialist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital.

Right now, pediatric offices across the Chicago area are waiting for the shots to arrive.

“People have tried to order it, but are still waiting for their orders to come in,” Tan said.

Shots are expected to start by the end of October. The one-shot dose offers protection through the RSV season, which typically runs from November until March.

But it’s not just babies that can get sick and hospitalized with RSV.

Two vaccines are now approved for adults over age 60 as well, especially those with chronic medical conditions.

“The recommendation is to have a conversation with your doctor to weigh in what your risk of RSV is,” said Dr. Laura Hernandez, an infectious disease specialist with RUSH University Medical Center.

Flu shots

Flu shots are recommended for everyone over the age of six months, and there’s one big change this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention removed precautions for people with egg allergies.

“This is important because it gives people options, so there’s options to get any kind of vaccine. There’s the internasal vaccines and the flu shots,” Hernandez said.

When it comes to flu shots, the CDC often looks to the southern hemisphere to determine how well flu vaccines are working. This year’s formula was 52% effective at keeping people out of the hospital in South America, according to the CDC.

“With both flu and COVID vaccine it offers some protection, it offers a lot of protection against severe illness, but we still expect to see some flu and COVID even with vaccinated people, it’s just milder,” said Dr. Julie Holland, vice president of pediatric primary care at Advocate Health Care.

New COVID Boosters

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize updated versions of COVID boosters very soon.

“It’s brand new, and it is really targeted against the most recent variants that we’ve seen, and it’s actually proven to be fairly effective,” Holland said.

The latest shots are designed to target the XBB.1.5 omicron subvariant. Though that strain is no longer dominant, the boosters should still protect against current circulating subvariants, which are closely related,drugmakers and experts have said.

More details about eligibility and availability will likely be released after a CDC advisory committee meets next Tuesday, Sept. 12.

“It is hoped that they will recommend the COVID booster for anyone who wants to receive it, and COVID vaccines can be given to anyone 6 months of age or older,” Tan said.

Once that guidance comes out, any adult over the age of 60 is expected to be eligible for a COVID booster, flu shot and RSV vaccine.

So we wanted to know – can you get all three at the same time?

“You can get all three of these, if you’re eligible, at the same time. There’s no limiting factors,” Holland said.

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