With Thanksgiving only a couple of weeks away, state health officials are again encouraging residents to get a COVID booster and flu shot before the holiday gatherings.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is also urging eligible residents to get the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine — including those who are pregnant, newborns, and many people 60-plus.
“With Thanksgiving just two weeks away, now is a great time for those preparing to celebrate with friends and loved ones to get vaccinated for flu, COVID-19, and RSV, if eligible,” said Public Health Commissioner Robert Goldstein.
“Getting vaccinated now will maximize protection against these respiratory viruses,” Goldstein added. “We want Massachusetts residents to have a safe, healthy, and fun holiday season and part of that is getting vaccinated to protect yourself and those around you.”
The seasonal flu vaccine and updated COVID booster both take up to two weeks for full protection.
COVID, flu and RSV are the three viruses that are most likely to cause severe disease resulting in hospitalization and sometimes death.
“Adding vaccinations to your holiday season to-do list is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and people you’ll gather with, especially older adults, people who are immunocompromised, and pregnant people, who are at higher risk for severe complications,” said State Epidemiologist Catherine Brown.
“While it’s never too late to get your COVID or flu shots, getting vaccinated sooner rather than later will provide increased protection ahead of holiday celebrations, the start of winter, and peak respiratory disease season,” Brown added.
In the last week, 13% of hospital admissions in the Bay State were due to acute respiratory disease.
COVID vaccine location information is available at mass.gov/CovidVaccine. Residents who cannot get to a vaccination location can schedule an appointment for in-home COVID and flu vaccination by going to mass.gov/VaccinesAtHome or calling 833-983-0485.
DPH will be holding COVID and flu clinics in many community locations and at upcoming cultural events. A listing of these community clinics that are accepting appointments and, in some locations, walk-ins, is updated weekly and can be found at mass.gov/MobileVax.