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Should you get a COVID-19 booster and flu shot at the same time?

Virus Outbreak Mississippi
Posted at 11:44 AM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-13 12:13:10-04

New COVID-19 booster shots are available and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for those ages 12 and up who were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus at least two months ago.

Also, flu shots for the 2022-23 season are now widely available and recommended for nearly everyone.

Should you get the vaccine simultaneously with both shots being accessible and recommended?

White House COVID-19 Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said he thinks it's a good idea to get both shots simultaneously.

“As the annual flu vaccination campaign kicks into high gear later this month and into early October, we expect millions will choose to get their COVID-19 shot at the same time, or over the course of the fall when people go in for routine checkups,” Jha said. “I really believe this is why God gave us two arms -- one for the flu shot and the other one for the COVID shot.”

The CDC recommends flu vaccinations in September and October annually.

Dr. Keith Armitage, medical director of Cleveland's University Hospitals Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine & Global Health, said it was previously advised not to get the shots together. That is no longer the case.

“When the COVID-19 vaccines were first approved, the recommendation was to not get a vaccine two weeks before or after. The reason for this was to not confuse adverse reactions,” Armitage said. “By now there has been so much experience with COVID vaccines, this no longer applies. It is absolutely okay to get a flu shot and COVID shot on the same visit.”

Generally, flu cases spike in cold-weather months. As the Southern Hemisphere comes out of its winter, there is an indication that flu levels could return to pre-COVID pandemic levels. Flu cases were dramatically reduced in the last two winters. Officials attribute masking and social distancing to the greatly reduced flu levels.

Jha said that the return of a regular flu season combined with COVID could strain the U.S. health care system.

“And I think we all as Americans have to pull together to try to protect Americans this fall and winter and do what we can to get our health care system through what might be a difficult fall and winter ahead,” he said.

The new COVID-19 boosters offer protection against strains of the omicron variant as previous vaccine doses waned in effectiveness against the virus.