Can You Get the Flu and COVID Vaccine at the Same Time?

Aug 30 2023

Flu season is around the corner, and COVID-19 cases are on the rise right now. Getting vaccinated for these viruses is important not only for your health but also for overall public health during the fall and winter months. However, can you get the flu and covid vaccine at the same time?

The answer is yes! You can get these two important shots during the same appointment.

What are the benefits of getting the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine simultaneously?

  • Recovery time: If either vaccine leads to side effects, you’ll be able to recover from any symptoms at the same time.
  • Convenience: One appointment instead of two is simply a better use of your valuable time. This is the main reason the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supports the coadministration of these two vaccines.
  • Protection: If you receive both shots at once, you’ll be sure to receive protection from both flu and COVID viruses.

If you do decide to receive both vaccines during one visit to your health care provider, pharmacy or vaccination event, it is best to receive them in separate sites. For example, get your flu shot in one arm and your COVID vaccine in the other.

Matt Delfino, MD, the regional medical director for AFC Urgent Care – Bon Secours in Greenville, SC, says there are also benefits to getting the vaccines separately, if you’re still unsure of receiving both simultaneously.

“If you have the flexibility and you’re able to separate them by about two weeks, we often feel the immune system will have a better response to each of the vaccines,” he explains. “If that’s not possible, it’s more important to get both vaccines rather than skip one or the other.”

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines protect you by introducing a weakened version of germs from a particular virus to your body. From there, your immune system starts making special proteins, or antibodies, to attack these germs. Antibodies are what your immune system would make anyways if it were naturally exposed to this particular virus.

However, because the germs introduced via the vaccine are weak, they don’t make you get physically sick. Instead, about two weeks after your shot, your body has built up enough antibodies that are now ready to attack should you come across this particular virus moving forward.

It is important to note that just because you get a vaccine for a certain virus does not mean you will never end up getting sick from that virus.

“If you’ve been vaccinated all the way up to the maximum level – you’ve gotten everything that’s been offered up to now – it’s generally thought that you’ll have protection even against the variants we see circulating now,” Dr. Delfino adds. “You also most likely won’t get as sick compared to someone would who isn’t vaccinated.”

If you do get sick, you may have a hard time figuring out whether it’s flu or COVID-19 because they share many of the same symptoms. The important thing is to stay home to avoid spreading the virus further.

“If you’re struggling with COVID or flu, these are normally self-limited things that will pass if you treat them with over-the-counter medications, plenty of rest, and fluids,” Dr. Delfino says, while warning that those experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. “They’re both types of respiratory viruses, and we do have anti-viral treatments, specifically designed for each of those that can help you recover.”

Are there side effects of the flu and COVID vaccines?

Yes, sometimes people experience some side effects after receiving these vaccines due to an immune response. These symptoms are typically mild and short-lived, and include slight fever, muscle aches, fatigue and soreness in the vaccination area of the arm.

Last summer, the CDC conducted a study and found that people who received their COVID-19 booster shot and flu shot at the same time were eight to 11 percent more likely to have these mild side effects compared to those individuals who got their COVID-19 booster alone. However, the reactions mostly went away very quickly.

So, now that you know you can you get the flu and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time, schedule both of these shots today!

Flu vaccinations are available at our ministry’s primary care practices for existing patients. You can find more information on COVID-19 vaccinations on our website.

Also, both the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine are currently available at most retail pharmacies.

Related Posts

Please review our Terms of Use before commenting.