PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- It's the end of September, which means the flu shot is now widely available. With the CDC's new recommendations on COVID-19 booster shots, many are confused on when to get which vaccine.
Area doctors are saying Arizona hospital systems are currently strained because of COVID-19 and West Nile virus.
A Valley surgeon says it's time for you to get both your COVID-19 booster and flu shot. "We need a lighter flu season with the level of illness that we're seeing in the hospitals right now. The earlier you can get it, the better," said Dr. Sam Durrani, a local surgeon.
Right now, eligible Arizonans like teachers, frontline health care workers, people who work in shelters or prisons, grocery store workers should be able to get that third Pfizer booster shot at local pharmacies and doctors’ offices.
Hospitals say they aren't just admitting COVID-19 patients. "Then you add West Nile which has increased due to the rain. Then you're going to add flu to that," said Dr. Durrani. "We want to be able to deliver care to everybody and you really start to strain the healthcare system at that point."
Just last week, the CDC announced new recommendations for getting a COVID-19 booster. Those that should get one as soon as possible include people 65 or older, anyone living in a long-term care facilities, adults with underlying medical conditions and people between 18 and 64 years old who work in high-risk settings.
So, is it okay to get these shots at the same time? "The answer is yes. Both are very safe to get together," Dr. Durrani told Arizona's Family.
"If you're so anxious that you don't want to get both shots at the same time, we understand. It doesn't have to be at the same time. But, you should get both shots and really, getting both shots at the same time is purely convenience," said Dr. Durrani.
The FDA and CDC authorized approved emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 booster shot for an expanded group of at-risk individuals.
But the most important thing Dr. Durrani wants people to remember is both shots are safe with mild side effects. "It is extremely safe. There are adverse events with any medication that you take. There can be adverse events, adverse side effects. But, they are extremely low," Dr. Durrani added.
Another question Arizona's Family has been receiving is if the COVID-19 booster the same as the first and second shot. Dr. Durrani says yes. It's the same shot, just six months later.