Why the vaccine is more important than ever, what to know about the COVID-19 variants, and what you can do to help protect yourself this fall and winter.
You’ve probably been hearing a lot of news about COVID-19, the vaccine, vaccine boosters, and the Delta, Omicron, and other variants. It can be hard to keep up and to make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Newer variants, or versions, of the virus are more contagious and spread quicker, so getting vaccinated is more important than ever before. And with flu season coming up, staying safe and healthy is a top priority.
Here’s what you need to know to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your community safe this season.
1. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and they work.
The vaccines are safe and effective at protecting you from COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been formally approved by the Food and Drug Administration—confirming that it they are no longer considered experimental. Strong systems are in place to make sure safety concerns are addressed quickly. All of the vaccines approved for emergency use in the United States have proven to be highly effective against severe COVID infection with very low risk. So far, more than 250 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC, and serious side effects are extremely rare.
2. The vaccine is more important than ever with the new variants.
There has been a troubling surge in COVID cases due to the highly contagious variants. Because new variants, or versions, of the virus are more contagious, they spread more quickly. The variants are also much more contagious to those who are unvaccinated—and antibodies from infection may not be as protective against the new variants. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to get vaccinated. The vaccine works and is still highly effective against serious illness. The best way to stay safe and slow the spread of these variants is to continue to protect yourself and get vaccinated.
3. Continue to wash your hands often and keep up safety best practices.
While the vaccine does help protect you against serious illness from the virus, it’s still important to keep up the safety best practices we’re all familiar with now. To help stop the spread of COVID-19, including Delta, Omicron, and other variants, continue to wash your hands often and physically distance and wear a mask as needed, especially in public crowds or in poorly ventilated spaces. Even if you’re fully vaccinated, wearing a mask gives you the most protection from the variants and helps prevent the spread to others. Find the latest mask recommendations from the CDC here.
4. You still need a flu shot this year. And you can now get your flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.
Yep, you still need that flu shot this fall—particularly because getting both the flu and COVID-19 infections at the same time can be even deadlier. The CDC recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older. Also, it’s important to note that you can get your flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine—if you haven’t gotten it already—at the same time. If you haven’t gotten your COVID-19 vaccine yet, now’s a great time to get both your flu and COVID-19 vaccines to best protect yourself this fall and winter.
5. For those already fully vaccinated, COVID-19 boosters are here.
Booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines are being recommended, because vaccination immune response naturally weakens over time and the highly infectious variants are circulating. Please reference the latest booster eligibility criteria from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you're eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot or if you have questions about it, talk to your doctor.
For more information, please see What to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine. If you’re a Clover Health member and have questions or need help scheduling or getting to a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, we can help! Search for a vaccine online or call Member Services at 1-888-778-1478 (TTY/TDD 711)* to get help from a live representative. Keep in touch if you have questions, and we’ll continue to provide updates as we have them.
Get vaccinated, get your flu shot, and continue to physically distance and wear masks when needed to help everyone get through this together.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Sophia Chang.
Updated on 3/31/22
Published on 11/17/21