How to avoid COVID-19 and the flu during the holiday season – Los Angeles Times

by | Dec 11, 2022 | COVID-19

A one-two punch of COVID-19 and the flu is striking California, sickening residents — some so severely they’ve had to go to the hospital — interrupting daily life and threatening to upend holiday plans. But while both diseases are spreading widely, officials stress that Californians aren’t powerless. There are steps everyone can take to better protect themselves and those around them.Here are some tips:Get your shots Vaccines are available for COVID-19 and the flu — and officials say rolling up your sleeve is a potent way to ward off severe illness.AdvertisementThe updated COVID-19 booster shot became available in September, but most people haven’t gotten it. Statewide, 19.4% of eligible residents have received the additional dose, according to the California Department of Public Health.The new bivalent booster is formulated to protect not only against the original coronavirus strain, but the Omicron subvariants that dominated the nation throughout much of the year — namely BA.5.“Getting that updated bivalent vaccine is the single most important thing you can do to make sure immunity is up to date and that you can fight the virus that’s out there,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator.Among UC San Francisco employees and students, 1 in 100 people who have gotten the updated COVID-19 booster have since come down with a coronavirus infection. But among those who haven’t gotten the shot, 1 in 20 have been infected, Dr. Ralph Gonzales, a UC San Francisco associate dean, said at a recent campus town hall. “When you have good strain match with the booster and the vaccine, you actually do prevent quite a bit of infection,” Gonzales said. It’s also not too late to get your primary COVID vaccine series. In October, unvaccinated Californians were two times more likely to become infected and be hospitalized with COVID-19 and three times more likely to die from the disease than their vaccinated counterparts, state data show. The flu shot is also very well matched to the circulating flu …

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