There is much abuzz about the influenza (flu) vaccine this year because of the possibility of getting Covid-19 and the flu together. Yes, it is possible to have both at once. There are some places like Walgreens already offering the flu shots. However, it is too early for the flu shot right now. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), “Getting vaccinated in July or August is too early, especially for older people, because of the likelihood of reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season. September and October are good times to get vaccinated.”
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices hasn’t voted on the flu vaccine recommendations for 2021-22, however they did make some proposed changes. One was in timing related to co-administering influenza vaccines with Covid-19 vaccines. “COVID-19 vaccines were previously recommended to be administered alone, with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration of any other vaccines. This was out of an abundance of caution and not due to any known safety or immunogenicity concerns. Substantial data has now been collected regarding the safety of COVID-19 vaccine currently authorized by FDA for use under EUA…COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing (or at the same time).” To reduce the risk of a local reaction, using different limbs for different vaccinations (which is currently standard practice) is recommended.
Pregnant women and children who will need 2 doses of influenza vaccine may need to get their vaccine(s) earlier.
Because the effectiveness of the flu shot only lasts a few months, if you get your shot too early, then you won’t be protected in March or April when the influenza virus may still be occurring. In some populations, a second injection will be given, but ideally, you can time your flu shot this fall to allow for some immunity to the flu which will decrease the severity of the disease if you do get it and decrease the amount of hospitalizations.
The recommendations could change this fall depending on what the pandemic does and as we learn more, but as of now, this is the best practice to follow. Priority Care will be working with Austin Drugs to offer flu shots to our patients as well as the community when it is appropriate.
Please reach out if you have any questions about getting a flu shot!