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Kokua Line: Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine and a flu shot on the same day?

Question: Can I get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine on the same day? I am one of those who waited for full FDA approval, but now we’re into flu-shot season too.

Answer: Yes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has updated advice from early in the pandemic.

Initially, the CDC had advised that COVID-19 vaccines be administered alone, at least 14 days before or after other vaccines, “not due to any known safety or immunogenicity concerns” but out of an abundance of caution when the vaccines were new, the health agency says on its website.

Now that hundreds of millions of doses have been given, and substantial data collected, the CDC has updated its advice to say that “COVID-19 vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing of other vaccines. This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines on the same day, as well as coadministration within 14 days.” Read more on its website, at 808ne.ws/vactim.

As you indicated, on Aug. 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer- BioNTech vaccine as a two-dose series for the prevention of COVID-19 in people ages 16 and up. In addition, the vaccine continues to be used under Emergency Use Authorization to prevent COVID-19 in people ages 12 to 15 and as a third dose (aka “booster shot”) for people 12 and up with compromised immune systems.

The CDC recommends that everyone eligible for COVID-19 immunization be vaccinated as soon as possible, amid a deadly wave of the disease’s delta strain.

As for the flu shot, the CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for people ages 6 months and older, unless they have contraindications. Ideally, nonpregnant adults should receive the flu shot by the end of October, but no earlier than Sept. 1, the health agency says, to maximize protection during the worst of flu season. Read more at 808ne.ws/flushot.

Q: My ex-husband has been receiving the child payments all summer even though our son lives with me and I will claim him 100% on my taxes. How did this happen and will it keep me from getting the full tax credit?

A: We don’t know how it happened. Your husband may have signed up for the advance Child Tax Credit payments on the IRS website, or claimed your son last year (the IRS pulled information from previous tax records), or there could be some other reason. But the IRS says this won’t stop you from claiming the credit. “You will be able to claim the full amount of the Child Tax Credit for your child on your 2021 tax return even if the other parent is receiving advance Child Tax Credit payments. The other parent should unenroll from receiving advance payments, but their decision will not affect your ability to claim the Child Tax Credit,” it says on its website, in response to a similar question.

Your ex-husband can unenroll on the IRS website, irs.gov, using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal. He’ll likely have to repay the payments he’s already received when he files his 2021 income taxes, depending on his specific circumstances, according to the IRS.

Q: I will be on regular UI; just got let go. Can I still claim weekly if I go visit family on the mainland for a few weeks? I know I’m not going to be called back to work right away.

A: No, you’re not supposed to claim unemployment benefits when you’re traveling purely for pleasure (vacation, as opposed to a work-search trip). However, we’ve heard about numerous claimants who’ve apparently done so during the pandemic, using the state’s online claim- certification system.

As the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations explains on its website, “the law requires you to be able and available for work, so if you are traveling for non-work- related reasons, you are ineligible for UI benefits during your travel period.”

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.

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