Is it safe to get COVID booster and flu shot at the same time? What experts say

Can you get the COVID booster and the flu shot at the same time? for dr Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, the answer is simple.

“I really believe that’s why God gave us two arms — one for the flu shot and the other for the COVID shot,” he quipped at a recent briefing.

As public health officials prepare for a possible coronavirus recurrence this fall and winter, they are also urging people to get vaccinated against influenza’s known, if recently quiet, enemy.

But busy residents needn’t worry about booking a few appointments. Jha, along with other officials and experts, says it’s perfectly fine to roll up your sleeves during the same visit.

Healthcare providers should offer flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same visit to eligible individuals, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Getting both vaccines at the same visit increases the likelihood that a person will be up to date with their immunizations,” the CDC said in a presentation.

The agency suggested delivering each shot in separate limbs.

Other vaccines are also fine unless there is a specific reason not to give them at the time of the doctor’s visit.

“Providers should offer all vaccines that an individual is eligible for at the same visit,” the CDC said.

Flu shots are now available for everyone 6 months and older. Residents can visit California’s MyTurn platform to find a walk-in clinic or to schedule an appointment beginning Thursday.

The flu shot has been an annual event for many Californians, but like most aspects of life, the practice has been turned on its head and disrupted during the pandemic. However, due to other measures taken to combat COVID-19, the flu has been relatively dormant.

“Influenza mostly went away over the past two winters, but returned this past spring of 2022 when we stopped wearing masks,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for the Los Angeles County District. “As we anticipate another flu outbreak in the coming months, we encourage everyone to take advantage of the many vaccination centers where you can get your flu vaccine and COVID case booster at the same time.”

Both shots, she added, “offer protection from the severity of the disease and increase the likelihood of less disruption for you and your family this fall and winter.”

Some officials have compared the new COVID-19 boosters to the flu shot. Just as officials are formulating the flu vaccine to fight this year’s version of the virus, the updated boosters are designed against both the original coronavirus strain and the Omicron subvariants that have dominated the US for the past few months, including BA.5 .

“We are all familiar with the yearly update of influenza vaccines. Scientists monitor influenza strains around the world and this data will be used to inform how the annual vaccine should be updated,” Ferrer said earlier this month. “The same concept was used in updating the COVID booster.”

Going forward, some officials have speculated that residents could potentially receive annual COVID-19 booster doses, similar to flu shots. Is it safe to get COVID booster and flu shot at the same time? What experts say

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