Can I Get My COVID-19 Booster and Flu Shot Together?
With the recent approval of a new type of COVID-19 booster (bilvalent), many people wonder if they can save time and get the yearly flu shot and the bivalent booster shot together. For most people, the short answer is yes.
Who is eligible for the newly FDA-approved bivalent COVID-19 booster?
If it has been two months or longer since you completed the initial series of two Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccines, you may be eligible for this booster shot. If you received a Moderna or Pfizer mRNA original booster more than two months ago, you might also receive the new booster now. The FDA approved the Pfizer and Moderna bivalent booster vaccines for people aged six months and older. These age ranges may change as the FDA is currently reviewing data for younger individuals.
Can I get the flu vaccine with the regular COVID-19 shots?
Yes, if you are getting one of the first two shots of the primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine, you can also get your annual flu shot at the same time.
My arm usually hurts after getting a shot – will getting two together be worse?
Experts usually recommend getting one shot in each arm (one for the booster and the other one for the flu shot) to minimize the discomfort. In general, trying to keep your arm muscle relaxed as you get the injection will minimize the pain and swelling. Other tips are to move and flex the muscle in the immediate hours after getting the shot. If you do have pain and swelling, you can apply ice or a warm compress.
Will other side effects be worse if I get both shots at the same time?
While you may have side effects from getting the shots, there are unlikely to be substantially worse for most people getting the flu vaccine along with the COVID-19 booster.
Self-reported side effects by people who received either a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 booster along with a flu vaccine in 2021 were compared to the side effects reported by those who only received a COVID-19 booster. This study found that people who received both the booster and the flu shots together were slightly more likely to report side effects (tiredness, headache, or muscle aches) in the week following the shots compared to those who only received the COVID-19 booster.
Will both shots work as well if I get them at the same time?
Several clinical studies have found that getting both shots at the same time will not affect your response to the vaccine.
What if I am 65 years of age or older?
If you are 65 years of age and older, the CDC recommends that you get a higher dose or adjuvanted flu vaccine to have the most effective protection against influenza. In a clinical study in this age group, the side effects reported with getting both shots at the same time, found that people receiving the high dose flu vaccine along with the booster reported slightly fewer side effects (headache, tiredness, muscle aches) when getting the shots separately.
If you have concerns about getting your COVID-19 booster shot and flu shot at the same time, be sure to ask your pharmacist or other healthcare provider. It is important to get vaccines on time, so getting both shots at the same time is a great choice for most people.
- https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/coadministration.htm. Accessed 12/14/22.