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Patients can now receive their COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot during the same visit, according to updated recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Previously, the CDC recommended that people receive their COVID-19 vaccinations alone and schedule any other vaccinations at least 2 weeks before or after their COVID-19 immunization. “This was out of an abundance of caution during a period when these vaccines were new and not due to any known safety or immunogenicity concerns,” the CDC guidance states. “However, substantial data have now been collected regarding the safety of COVID-19 vaccines currently approved or authorized by FDA.”
The guidance allowing for coadministration of COVID-19 vaccines with other immunizations, including the flu shot, was issued in mid-May of this year, and was restated in influenza vaccine recommendations released August 27. The American Academy of Pediatrics soon followed suit, announcing earlier this week that for children eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine (age 12 and older), AAP recommendations allow for both the influenza and COVID-19 vaccines to be administered during the same visit.
Although there is limited data around giving COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines, “extensive experience with non-COVID-19 vaccines has demonstrated that immunogenicity and adverse event profiles are generally similar when vaccines are administered simultaneously as when they are administered alone,” the recommendations state. If administering other immunizations along with COVID-19 vaccines, providers should separate injection sites by at least one inch, the CDC recommends, and influenza vaccines that are more likely to cause a local reaction, like high-dose or the adjuvanted inactivated flu vaccine, should be administered in different limbs, if possible.
Whether someone should get their flu vaccine at the same time or separate from a COVID-19 vaccination or booster is a matter of personal preference as well as convenience, Susan Coffin, MD, MPH, an attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told Medscape Medical News. “It basically boils down to: Will you be able to get your flu shot without any difficulty in 2 weeks’ time?” she said. “We don’t want inconvenience or difficulties in access to get the way of people getting their flu shot this year.”