COVID-19 vaccine is mandatory so are your flu vaccines. There is confusion among people about whether or not to get COVID and flu shots simultaneously. A new study puts an end to that confusion and says that getting the COVID-19 vaccine and seasonal flu vaccine at the same time is safe and effective. Back in January, a study reported flu vaccination can risk COVID-19 but the research was later found to be incorrect. So you can get your COVID and flu shots without any fear. 

According to a recent online study, getting a COVID-19 vaccine and seasonal flu vaccine at the same time appears safe and effective. The NVX-CoV2373, Novavax, shows 89.8% efficacy in an ongoing phase 3 study. The study tests how people react to getting both shots at the same time. The researchers gave an influenza shot to a group of 431 volunteers from the same study at the same time and found that the efficacy dropped slightly to 87.5%. 

Dr Raja Rajaram, MD, medical affairs lead and co-author of the study says that these results demonstrate the promising opportunity for concomitant vaccination, which may lead to higher vaccination rates and further protection against both viruses. 

Traditionally before using a product, how a new vaccine might interact with the existing vaccines is studied. But now that’s not the case as COVID-19 vaccines are made available through expedited emergency use authorization. The researchers found no major safety concerns associated with the vaccination. The current study aimed to see whether the vaccine changes the immunogenicity or effectiveness of the other in addition to safety. 

It’s a small study but it’s encouraging to know that there is no big decrease in immunogenicity either way and the safety profile was similar, but not identical, says Offit, director of Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.   

The injection-site tenderness was reported by 70% vs 58% for those who jabbed the COVID-19 shot alone. 40% vs 29% was true for pain at the injection site, fatigue- 28% vs 19% and muscle pain- 28% vs 21%. The rates of unsolicited adverse events and serious events that required medical attention were low and well-balanced between groups.  

Difference between Influenza and COVID-19 

Both influenza and COVID-19 are contagious respiratory diseases caused by different viruses. Flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses whereas COVID-19 is caused by a new virus called SARS-CoV-2. Mostly the symptoms of both the illnesses are similar and it’s difficult to differentiate between their symptoms alone. A proper test is required to confirm the diagnosis. However, COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than the flu and it also causes serious illness.  

This study has its limitations because it was primarily conducted in adults 18 to 64 years old so it’s uncertain what could happen for people over 65 years of age. The researchers suggest expanding the research with COVID-19 vaccines with different formulations of influenza vaccines including data with elderly people.