Most Americans have had one or more shots of the flu and Covid vaccines. New this year is the first shots to protect older adults and infants from respiratory syncytial virus, a lesser-known threat whose toll in hospitalizations and deaths may rival that of flu.
Federal health officials are hoping that widespread adoption of these immunizations will head off another “tripledemic” of respiratory illnesses, like the one seen last winter.
For people with insurance, all the vaccines should be available for free.
“This is an embarrassment of riches,” said Dr. Ofer Levy, director of the precision vaccines program at Boston Children’s Hospital and an adviser to the Food and Drug Administration. Here’s what he and other experts say about who should receive which immunizations, and when.
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The Biden administration has approved a fourth Covid-19 vaccine shot for all Americans over age 50 and for all adults who are immunocompromised.
But does that mean everybody who is eligible should rush out to their pharmacy or primary care doctor to get it?
The short answer is that it depends — on both your personal risk and what’s happening with the pandemic.
Making things even more perplexing, the public health guidance has become more nuanced as more booster shots are authorized.
Whereas public health experts were unified in urging people to get their first and second shots last year, they were more divided about third shots when those were approved late last year, at least until the emerging omicron wave made the first round of boosters more urgent.
Holidays are never quite the same after someone we love dies.
Even small aspects of a birthday or a Christmas celebration — an empty seat at the dinner table, one less gift to buy or make — can serve as jarring reminders of how our lives have been forever changed.
Although these realizations are hard to face, clinical psychologist Mary-Frances O’Connor says we shouldn’t avoid them or try to hide our feelings. “Grief is a universal experience,” she notes, “and when we can connect, it is better.”
O’Connor, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Arizona, studies what happens in our brains when we experience grief.
She says grieving is a form of learning — one that teaches us how to be in the world without someone we love in it. “The background is running all the time for people who are grieving, thinking about new habits and how they interact now.”