Safe to get flu shot and COVID omicron booster at same time

With flu season fast approaching, the CDC and other medical experts say it’s safe to get your flu shot and your omicron COVID-19 booster at the same time.

As the flu season is fast approaching and some new COVID-19 boosters are made available people on social media to have wondered if they can receive the updated or bivalent COVID-19 booster shot with an Omicron component and the influenza shot at the same time.

THE QUESTION

Can a person get the omicron COVID-19 booster and the flu shot at the same time?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, people can receive the omicron COVID-19 booster and the flu shot at the same time.

WHAT WE FOUND

Yes, you can get a flu vaccine, also known as a flu shot, at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their updated guidance on the 2022 flu season.

“It is considered very safe to get the Omicron booster along with the flu shot for convenience,” Payal Kohli, MD, told VERIFY.

Kohli recommends people get the vaccines in different arms in case of possible side effects like sore muscles, although it’s not required.

The exact timing and length of flu season varies, but flu activity often begins to increase in October, the CDC says, so it’s best to get the flu shot before the end of that month. Influenza activity typically peaks between December and February, although significant activity can persist into May.

The “sweet spot” for a flu shot is usually in early October, Kohli said, so people can start planning their vaccination appointments now.

“As we haven’t seen much of a flu infection in the past two years, this year can be particularly tough, so getting vaccinated is important,” she said.

People who are in high-risk situations, such as public gatherings or travel, may want to get their vaccines sooner rather than later because it takes about two weeks to generate a maximum immune response, said Saralyn Mark, MD.

Combining flu shot appointments and COVID boosters could be a convenient option for many people who want to get the latest COVID booster that has become available.

More from VERIFY: Yes, Omicron COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters are available to the public

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved COVID-19 booster shots containing an Omicron component from Pfizer and Moderna in late August.

The bivalent vaccines, also referred to as “updated boosters” by the FDA, add Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike proteins to the original COVID-19 vaccine composition. This is designed to “help restore protection that has waned since the previous vaccination” by targeting the more contagious and immune-preventable omicron subvariants, according to the CDC.

Pfizer’s Omicron vaccine is approved for use as a single booster dose in people ages 12 and older, according to the FDA, while Moderna’s vaccine is approved for people ages 18 and older.

The updated booster shots should be given at least two months after a person’s last COVID-19 vaccination and at least three months after a previous infection.

“If those criteria are met, I would advise getting [the boosters] immediately,” said Kohli.

More from VERIFY: Yes, it is safe to get the COVID-19 Vaccine Booster if you have mild cold symptoms

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Alley Einstein

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