Do the Flu and COVID Vaccines Play Nice Together?
Asha K. Shah, MD, MS, Director of Infectious Diseases
Flu season is almost here. Here are 5 things you should know right now.
1. I already got the COVID vaccine. Should I get the flu shot, too?
Yes, you should get the flu shot. Anyone 6 months and older should get the flu shot. COVID-19 and the flu are two completely different viruses with two completely different vaccines. One will not work for the other.
2. But if we’re all masking and taking precautions anyway, why is the flu shot necessary?
The flu shot will protect you against serious illness, hospitalization or even death from the influenza virus. It will also make your symptoms less severe and shorter in duration if you do catch the flu. Other viral illnesses, like RSV and the common cold, are also going around, so it’s in your best interest to protect yourself from as many of them as possible with vaccination.
3. There was almost no flu last year. Will this year be different?
It’s very possible. With schools opening back up, and many COVID-related mandates being lifted, the prediction is that this year’s influenza season will be more significant than last. We’ve already seen an uptick in other viral respiratory infections, such as RSV, and the same is expected for the flu.
4. Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu shot at the same time, or close together?
Yes, you can and, yes, it’s safe. When COVID-19 vaccines were first being distributed, the CDC originally advised the public to wait in between COVID and non-COVID vaccines. Now that more time has passed to collect more data, this guidance has changed, and you can even receive both shots on the same day
If you plan on doing that, you may want to use one arm for each!
5. I’m too nervous about COVID to go anywhere to get my flu shot. What should I do?
Please don’t put your health needs on hold! All physicians’ offices and locations offering the flu shot are taking precautions to protect everyone against COVID-19 and the flu. Contact your doctor with any concerns. If you don't have a doctor, find one here.
Get the shot in mid to late October, if possible, for yourself and for your loved ones.