Can You Get a COVID Booster and a Flu Shot at the Same Time?

Top 6 Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines

November 10, 2021

Clinical Contributors to this story:
Laura Dutu, M.D.

Now that flu season is here, you may be concerned about catching two viruses: Influenza (flu) and SARS-Cov-2, which causes COVID-19. Health experts have predicted that more people will become infected with the flu this year than last year, and the risk of getting COVID-19 is still very real, especially among unvaccinated people. The best protection against both viruses is vaccination, and vaccines are readily available for both flu and COVID-19.

Two vaccines; one visit

If you’re planning to get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot sometime soon and the thought of going to the pharmacy twice sounds like an inconvenience, you won’t actually have to make two trips: You can get a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When people get two vaccinations at the same time, they usually get one vaccination in each arm,” says internal medicine specialist Laura Dutu, M.D. “Because the typical side effects that people experience from both vaccines are similar, people should expect their side effects to resemble what they have had after previous flu or COVID-19 vaccines. They should not be more intense for most people.”

Research backs up recommendation

British researchers have studied the effectiveness of administering COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time. They gave 340 adults aged 18 and older COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots and also gave 339 adults COVID-19 vaccines and placebo injections. The preprint study, which is not yet peer-reviewed, found that when people received flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time, it caused no health or safety concerns.

The study also found that administering both vaccines at the same time didn’t diminish the body’s immune response to either virus. Additionally, pregnant women, older adults and people with severe health conditions – people who are ideal candidates for flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines – were included within the study, so the research should help to reassure people in those groups that getting simultaneous vaccinations is safe and effective.

“Researchers have known for some time that when people receive two vaccinations at once, the body can identify each vaccine without confusion and develop an immune response to each,” says Dr. Dutu. “Also say that people should get both vaccines this flu season.”

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The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.

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