PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Updated COVID-19 booster shots that target currently dominant omicron strains of the virus are rolling out across the U.S. this month. As we approach flu season, as well, can you get the new COVID shot and the flu vaccine at the same time?
Midstate health experts say yes, you can.
“Receiving the COVID vaccine at the same time as a flu shot was studied earlier in the COVID pandemic and proven to be safe. The vaccines don’t interact with each other and they both induce their own separate immune responses,” Dr. Joseph Kontra, chief of infectious diseases at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, said in an email.
WellSpan Health Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Eugene Curley agreed, saying in an email, “We now have the data that shows that co-administration of COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines produces effective immune responses without any safety concerns.”
Curley says getting the two vaccines at the same time is more convenient than making two separate appointments. Experts do recommend that the shots are given at different places on the body, Curley noted.
Some people may want to space the shots out a bit, though. Kontra noted that people who have had adverse reactions to either the COVID or flu vaccines in the past may want to get the two injections about a month apart so doctors can sort out any possible negative side effects.
“Otherwise it’s safe for persons to get both at the same time, with confidence that both vaccines will work effectively and that the practice is safe,” Kontra said.
As far as side effects from the new COVID shot go, Curley said, “Although we do not have past clinical data regarding the new bivalent vaccines, it appears the side effect profile is similar to previous COVID-19 vaccines.”
Common side effects reported after COVID-19 boosters are fever, headache, fatigue, and pain at the injection site, the CDC says.
According to the CDC, common side effects from the flu shot include soreness, redness, and/or swelling at the injection site; headache; fever; nausea; muscle aches; and fatigue.
Individuals should consult their personal physicians with any questions about getting the shots, Kontra said.