The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched a vaccination campaign promoting updated COVID and flu shots in preparation for the upcoming fall and winter seasons as infection rates climb in some parts of the country.

In a statement issued Thursday, the CDC recommended taking updated COVID and flu vaccines to protect against severe outcomes of COVID-19 and flu, including hospitalization and death.

Last year, over 916,300 people were hospitalized with severe COVID-19, resulting in 75,500 deaths. Additionally, during the 2023-2024 flu season, around 44,900 individuals succumbed to flu complications.

"Our top recommendation for protecting yourself and your loved ones from respiratory illness is to get vaccinated. Make a plan now for you and your family to get both updated flu and COVID vaccines this fall, ahead of the respiratory virus season," CDC director, Dr. Mandy Cohen, said in the statement.

As summer peaks, COVID-19 is resurging, causing emergency rooms to handle 15% more cases and seeing a 25% increase in severe hospitalizations. California, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii report the highest rates of positive COVID tests, exceeding 10%. COVID-19 deaths have come to around 273 in the week ending June 1. Despite this, the current spike in COVID cases is considered modest compared to past summer waves.

The current recommendation for the COVID vaccine is for everyone aged 6 months and older, regardless of their previous vaccination status. This is because of continuous changes to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the waning protection provided by COVID-19 vaccines over time.

"Receiving an updated 2024-2025 COVID-19 vaccine can restore and enhance protection against the virus variants currently responsible for most infections and hospitalizations in the United States. COVID-19 vaccination also reduces the chance of suffering the effects of Long COVID, which can develop during or following acute infection and last for an extended duration," the statement read.

Individuals can avail both COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same visit.

Most individuals require only one flu shot each season.

The CDC recommends most people get the flu vaccine in September or October. Vaccination in July and August is generally not advised, except for:

  • Pregnant women in their third trimester for the protection of their newborns.
  • Children who need two doses, with the first dose as soon as available and the second dose at least four weeks later.
  • Children with healthcare visits during those months if later opportunities are unlikely.

Adults, especially those 65 and older, and pregnant women in their first and second trimesters should avoid July or August vaccinations unless vaccination in September or October is not possible.