Can you get flu shot with COVID-19 vaccination? Yep.
With flu season closing in, many health experts are urging those who have yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccination -- or need a booster -- to get both shots at the same time.
"We recommend doing it together," said Dr. Jacqueline Korpics, the Cook County Department of Public Health's medical director for COVID-19 response. "Both are important shots, but you should really get them as soon as they are available to you."
The agency that handles public health policy for suburban Cook County is developing a plan to outfit mobile clinics with both flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously recommended leaving some time between inoculations, but that guidance has changed as more research has become available, experts said.
Providers now know they can give shots at the same time, simply keeping them an inch or more apart. They might suggest using both arms, particularly in people who might need shingles and pneumonia vaccines, as well, Korpics said.
For now, COVID-19 booster shots are recommended for the moderately or severely immunocompromised, and health officials said flu shots can be administered along with boosters. Boosters should be available for those who received the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines in the coming weeks. Most Americans will be eligible for boosters by December, eight months after they received their second dose.
Children ages 5 to 11 are also expected to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines as soon as the end of October.
Korpics said there's no need to wait that long to get a flu shot.
"Get your flu shot as soon as it's offered to you," she said. "In general, every year we should do better than we do with flu shots. It's usually a disappointment with how many people we get."
Flu cases were down significantly last year, which health officials attribute to COVID-19 restrictions and widespread mask wearing. However, that might not be the case this year, and the shortage of hospital beds coupled with the overlapping symptoms between flu and COVID-19 make it a bad time to get sick.
The CDC also recommends anyone 50 and older get a shingles vaccination, while anyone 65 and older should also get the pneumonia vaccine. Those vaccines can be administered with initial COVID-19 doses or boosters as well, health officials said.