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KPBS Midday Edition

Flu season, fall surge could spell end-of-year COVID trouble

State, county and worldwide cases drop, still some experts warn COVID is unpredictable.

Last week, the CDC approved a new COVID-19 booster shot, which specifically targets the highly-contagious omicron variant.

The variant-specific dose is expected to give recipients elevated protection from the dominant omicron strain — although clinical data on exactly how long the protection will last is scarce.

Health experts hope the recent approval will lessen the burden of a fall and winter surge, which could be further complicated by the approaching flu season.

Some doctors are recommending that both the flu shot and COVID-19 booster be taken at the same time in order to reduce the likelihood of serious illness and ultimately reduce the strain on the nation's healthcare system.

Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, says that while combining the two vaccines is safe, people should get the booster now and wait to get the flu shot until just before the flu season ramps up.

"Flu vaccines aren't nearly as effective as the COVID vaccines and boosters, so if you're going to get one this might be a little bit early," he said.

He joined Midday Edition on Wednesday with more on the latest COVID-19 information and booster guidance.

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