Winter Wellness by Dr. Robert Sandhaus

Winter Wellness by Dr. Robert A. Sandhaus

Featured in Alpha-1-to-One Magazine: Ask the Alpha Doc Winter 2022

Q: Should I get my influenza vaccination at the same time as my COVID-19 booster shot?

A: It is find to get the influenza vaccine at the same time as the latest COVID booster, you can even get it in the same arm if you’d prefer. But it is your choice whether to space them out or get them at the same time. They both work regardless, but some people who have experienced side effects from vaccines might decide to space them out a bit.

Q: What is a higher dose flu shot and how old do you have to be to receive it?

A: The higher dose flu shot is exactly as the name implies. IT gives a bigger dose of the killed virus. It’s used for people who would be expected to have some reduction in immune response to the vaccine, such as those 65 years of age or older or who have an immunodeficiency.

Q: How often should I receive a pneumonia vaccine?

A: This is a difficult question to answer to because there are so many different pneumonia vaccines with different dosing schedules. There is an excellent summary of when and how often to get the carious vaccines and what’s different about them in the online Big Fat Reference Guide to Alpha-1 at

Q: Should I wear a face mask while in public indoor spaces this winter? Airplanes?

A: If you are in a risk group that is in danger of developing severe disease should they get COVID-19, such as an Alpha with lung or liver disease, you should definitely wear a face mask in airports and airplanes this winter because you’re exposed to people from all over the country (and world) in that setting. Locally, whether you wear a face mask in public outdoor spaces depends on how crowded the outdoor space is and what the incidence of COVID in your community is.

Q: How long am I contagious for after receiving a positive COVID test? Flu?

A: Generally, if you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you are no longer infectious after 7-10 days. Some people wait until their rapid, at-home VODI test turns negative before exposing other people.

Q: Does my augmentation therapy protect me from getting COVID, the flu or pneumonia?

A: Augmentation therapy does not protect Alphas from becoming infected with COVID, flu, or pneumococcal pneumonia (the target of pneumonia vaccines). There is evidence that augmentation therapy does make it less likely that the disease will be serious when you get those infections. Vaccines help even more.