BPHC to families: Stay up-to-date on COVID and flu vaccines this fall


The FDA and CDC are expected to approve updated COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks.

A woman holds a young boy while in the foreground a doctor's hands are visible preparing a needle.
Sara Ruiz of Revere holding her 6-year-old, Andrew, while he gets his second COVID vaccination shot in January 2022. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

With back-to-school season around the corner, Bostonians should plan to update their COVID-19 and flu vaccines, the city’s Public Health Commission said in a Tuesday news release.

Although COVID hospitalizations remain low, the concentration of viral particles in the city’s wastewater — an indicator of the overall incidence of COVID in Boston — has increased in the past few weeks, officials said. 

The uptick is “not cause for immediate concern,” the BPHC noted in its press release, but is nevertheless “important to be aware of with back-to-school season, cooler temperatures, and cold and flu season all approaching.”

According to the release, the FDA and CDC will approve updated COVID vaccines and schedules “in the coming weeks.” When that happens, the BPCH will issue its recommendations based on the latest information. 

In the meantime, the agency recommends Bostonians protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID by taking a rapid test if they show symptoms, practicing good hygiene, staying home when sick, and consulting their health care providers for more specific guidance.

City officials also recommend that everyone over 6 months old get a flu shot in September or October this year. Flu season will likely begin in October, the BPHC said.

A bit of advance planning could help ward off missed days of school and severe disease, explained Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, commissioner of public health and executive director of the BPHC.

“Preparation is key when planning for a new school year and the changing of the seasons,” Ojikutu said in the release. “Everyone in your household should be up to date on vaccinations to reduce the risk of severe illness this season.”  

Originally posted 2023-08-16 18:57:00.