Unfortunately, flu season hasn’t waited for the COVID-19 pandemic to end before returning. That means getting both your flu vaccination and your COVID-19 vaccination or booster is your best bet to help keep yourself and others safe from infection.
So, can you get them at the same time, or do you need to wait between vaccines?
No wait necessary
After some initial caution, researchers have confirmed it is safe to receive the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time. And there is no reason why the vaccines would not work together, according to Brian Laird, RPH, PharmD, a hospital pharmacy manager for OSF HealthCare.
“When it first came out, we recommended waiting two weeks between vaccines,” Brian said. “The thought behind separating the vaccines was to spread out any possible side effects, like fatigue, soreness from the injection or fever, and to make sure there was no concern with COVID vaccine effectiveness.
“However, we now suggest that if it makes it easier for you, get them done at the same time.”
“I do suggest you get the vaccines in different arms – it’s easier for the people administering the shot and probably easier for pain management, too,” Brian said.
Getting the COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time should not make a difference, as far as generating antibodies and the effectiveness of the vaccines.
Brian said he got his COVID-19 booster and his flu shot just one day apart. He would have gotten them at the same time, if he’d had the opportunity. He also works with plenty of people who have gotten both shots at one time for the sake of convenience.
Trials are ongoing to combine the flu and COVID-19 vaccines into a single shot.
Combining vaccines is neither new nor novel. In fact, it’s quite common. The vaccines for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) were all combined into the Tdap shot. The vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella were all combined into the single MMR shot.
“There is a long history of combining vaccines as much as possible,” Brian said. “Fewer injections are all the better for people who don’t like getting stuck.”
It is safest to not wait. If you have yet to get your COVID-19 or flu vaccine, find a local retail pharmacy that administers them or check our website for options.