RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As we get closer and closer to the holidays, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Mandy Cohen is reminding people to stay updated with their flu, RSV and COVID-19 vaccines.

“October’s really the best time to get yourself protected,” said Cohen. “We’re still at low levels of flu, we’re still at relatively low levels of COVID, but remember we’ve seen about 400 North Carolinians unfortunately still die of COVID just in the last 3 months, and so it’s still here and unfortunately, it’s still impacting those who are over 65.”

The updated COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available, but so far only 12 million people, or 3.6 percent of the population, have gotten them.

“We’re a few weeks into this. We know it was a different process this year that it has been in different. We’re outside of the emergency which means the private sector is working on the distribution and getting vaccine out there, so we know that we’ve worked through a couple of kinks with insurance companies and others, so now we know there’s plenty of supply,” Cohen said. “Go to your pharmacy, go to your doctor’s office. Get that updated COVID vaccine.”

She especially encourages people aged 65 and up to get their shot.

This month the Food and Drug Administration released an analysis linking COVID-19 vaccines to a slight risk of stroke when administered with the flu shot.

Cohen says the CDC believes it’s still safe to get them at the same time if that’s what you prefer. She says it’s important for everyone to talk to their doctor.

“We think it is fine to get them both on the same day, but I would say talk to your doctor about vaccinations and how they can protect you,” Cohen said. 

In addition to getting your vaccinations, Cohen also recommends testing and staying home when you don’t feel well.