It’s not too late to get your flu and updated COVID vaccines before the holidays!


Go get your flu and COVID vaccines NOW to be protected for the holidays.

Peak protection takes around 2 weeks to ramp up, so now is the perfect time. No one wants to fall ill right before a big holiday family gathering. You also don’t want to be the one to infect grandparents, babies, or otherwise vulnerable loved ones. Vaccines are one of the best tools we have to stay safe, let’s use them!
This year’s flu shot is a good match.

Flu activity is now ramping up in the US, with high activity already seen in the South. Even if your region is green right now, this will likely change in a matter of weeks, so get that protection on board. This year’s flu shot is a good match to circulating strains, showing good protection against hospitalization in the Southern Hemisphere whose flu season has ended.”

Source: CDC

The updated COVID vaccine strongly boosts antibodies to new variants.

There is more promising news about the updated COVID vaccines as well. A new pre-print from the lab of David Ho shows that XBB.1.5 booster strongly (~20-fold) increases neutralization of XBB.1.5 & XBB-descended viruses (which are the primary variants circulating now). This is represented by the red dots showing increases in neutralizing antibodies after vaccination:

The updated COVID vaccine available now appears to be better at neutralizing new variants compared to the bivalent BA.5 booster shots from last season. Recall that “bivalent” meant that last year’s shot still included the original Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2. Including the “original formula” likely tilted the immune response to recall more strongly the original virus it had already seen a couple times before, meaning less updating of the response towards new variants.

This year, the updated vaccine contains only the XBB.1.5 formula. Not including the original variant seems to have helped the immune system update and create antibodies that better fit new variants, without a backward looking response. This is great news, and means that a strategy of regularly updating the vaccines to match new variants is likely to be effective and overcome any immunological “imprinting” or bias towards the original strains. Click here for a great thread summarizing this work in more detail from the Bloom Lab.

Covid activity is also increasing in the US according to wastewater data and hospitalizations. High levels of travel and contact during the holidays are likely to increase levels even more. Now is a great time to get the updated vaccine to top up your protection before the winter surge.


✅ If it’s been at least 3 months since a COVID infection, you can still benefit from an updated shot before the holidays.

✅ You can get the flu and COVID vaccines at the same time.

✅ In the US the COVID vaccine is still free to everyone, including the uninsured via the Bridge Access Program.

✅ Kids can get very sick with COVID and should get the vaccine too. The updated shot is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older.

Both the flu and COVID vaccines are good matches to the circulating variants.

And if you are in your last trimester of pregnancy or an adult aged 60 or over, now is also a great time to get the new RSV vaccine, as cases also are rising.

Run, don’t walk to go get your protection before the holidays!

Stay safe, stay well.

Those Nerdy Girls

Link to Original Substack Post