U.S. health officials recently announced they are recommending that all fully vaccinated Americans get a COVID-19 booster shot eight months after they received their second dose of the vaccine, stating the booster shot would help increase their protection against the surging delta variant.
For many Americans, that’s right around the time when they’d normally receive the seasonal flu vaccine. VERIFY viewer Mary wants to know if getting the COVID-19 booster shot will have any effect on her getting the flu shot this fall.
Can you get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot and the flu shot at the same time?
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Dr. Anna Durbin, Professor of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Dr. Payal Kohli, Board-certified Cardiologist at Cherry Creek Heart
- Dr. Gregory A. Poland, Internist at Mayo Clinic
Yes, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot and the flu shot at the same time.
WHAT WE FOUND
Dr. Payal Kohli, a board-certified cardiologist at Cherry Creek Heart, explained to VERIFY where the concern for taking two vaccines at the same time originates.
“The reason that we worry about taking two vaccines at the same time is because if your immune system is trying to fight two things, or learn how to fight two things, rather than one thing, it might get distracted and not do as good a job making antibodies against each individual one,” said Kohli.
According to the CDC, a person can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, like the seasonal flu shot, during the same visit to the doctor or pharmacy. The public health agency also says on its website that people no longer need to wait 14 days between vaccinations as they previously recommended.
“Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, after getting vaccinated and possible side effects of vaccines are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines,” said the CDC.
Dr. Anna Durbin, a professor of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, tells VERIFY that participants in last year’s COVID-19 vaccine trials were allowed to get their flu shots and they had no impact on the results.
“I'm very convinced that it's very safe to give these vaccines either at the same time or within days of one another,” said Durbin. “It's unlikely that it's going to affect the immunogenicity or the protective effectiveness of either of these vaccines.”
Dr. Gregory Poland, an internist at the Mayo Clinic, also says there are no issues with getting both the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine because they don't interfere with each other or add any risk.
Meanwhile, Dr. Kohli says if a person is still hesitant about taking the COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot at the same time, or if they are immunocompromised, it’s okay to space them out — but for people with normal immune systems, she says it is fine to take them at the same time.
“For most of us, it's probably okay to take them together. I think the tolerability or the side effects are probably going to be the same whether you take two or one,” said Kohli. “We're much more likely to get both of them if we take them together rather than taking them separately.”