As the flu season approaches and coincides with millions of Americans newly eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster, with expert backing for boosters developed by Moderna and J&J, many may wonder whether it’s safe to receive both a booster and a flu vaccine in one visit.
"Flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states on its webpage. The health agency advises providers to administer vaccines into different injection sites at least 1 inch apart to differentiate between any local reactions.
"Certainly, if a person has any concerns, they can take them at different times," Dr Aaron Glatt, chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau, told Fox News. "Likewise, there is no reason to wait 14 days [between vaccinations], like it was originally recommended, after getting either vaccination."
What’s more, there’s no current evidence that co-administration will magnify any potential side effects, according to Dr. Fred Davis, associate chair of emergency medicine at Northwell Health on Long Island, who also noted the most common side effect for both involve a sore arm at the injection side.
Tim Mack, 56-year-old of New York City, told Fox News that he recently received his COVID-19 vaccine booster and flu shot on the same day. Mack, who has an underlying health condition, said he had the typical soreness from the injections, but didn’t feel as though the flu shot worsened any of the usual side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine.
"I felt a little tired, but not anything more than I had with the second COVID vaccine shot," Mack told Fox News, adding that he wanted to receive both shots at the same time due to upcoming family events and holidays.
The U.S. recorded a historic low in flu activity last winter, believed to have largely resulted from mitigation measures taken amid the pandemic to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, such as wearing masks, distancing and practicing hand hygiene.
However, this year health experts are warning of a possible increase in flu activity.
"This year our society has opened up more and masks have become less apparent so it’s likely we will see more flu cases this year," Davis told Fox News.
Health officials urge vaccination against both diseases; the COVID-19 vaccine does not protect against the flu, and the flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, Denise Walsh, dean of the school of health professions and nursing and chief global health officer at Long Island University, reiterated.
"Getting a flu vaccine is the best protection against flu and its potentially serious complications, and getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection against COVID-19," per the CDC webpage, which advises patients with any questions to consult their healthcare provider.