Getting both the flu vaccine and the Covid-19 bivalent mRNA booster this Fall can help protect you … [+]
In Pictures via Getty Images
There are some things that are tough to do at the same time like sneezing with your eyes open and knitting while trampolining. But you can get your flu vaccine and Covid-19 mRNA bivalent booster at the same time, if it’s easier for you to do so. Kids often receive multiple vaccinations during a single visit. So your immune system can handle being exposed to what different vaccines offer at once.
You can even get the flu vaccine and the Covid-19 vaccine on the same arm if you’d like. There’s no medical reason for you to use separate arms. Of course, having both shots on the same arm may leave that arm a little extra sore. So there is an advantage to getting one shot on each arm. Alternatively, getting shots on two separate arms may be an issue if you’d like to keep one of your arms free of soreness, assuming that you aren’t an octopus and have more than two arms. Therefore, it’s really up to you and your personal preferences as to which arms you want to offer for each shot.
One disadvantage of getting the flu vaccine and Covid-19 vaccine at the same time is that the side effects for each vaccine such as fatigue and headaches could add up together. Therefore, if you do have the option to do so, spacing out the shots a bit could be better and offer you some more time for recovery.
Plus, although it’s better to get up to date on your Covid-19 protection as soon as possible, you may want to wait until late October for the flu shot. That’s because while the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is already all around us, influenza virus activity in the Northern Hemisphere, which includes the U.S., hasn’t jumped up quite yet. It will most likely increase in the later Fall or early Winter. At the same time, the protection from the flu shot may slowly wane after you’ve gotten it. Thus, in theory, getting the flu shot right now could be a little bit too early, leaving you a little less protected during the latter part of the flu season, which may extend through late February into March, and April.
That being said, protection from flu vaccination can be like pants. Having at least some coverage is better than having nothing at all. It’s better to have gotten vaccinated against the flu and have the protection wane a bit than not having gotten vaccinated at all. If you are at your doctor’s office, the pharmacy, or any other vaccination location for the Covid-19 bivalent booster, you might as well get the flu shot too if it’s available. Otherwise, you could forget and end up not getting the flu shot. After all, life can get busy with important things to do such as taking selfies, making TikTok videos, trying to follow what the Kardashians are doing, and arguing with people and bots over Twitter. You may not end up returning to the vaccination location over the next month or so.
Here’s Pfizer’s Covid-19 mRNA bivalent booster is being administered in Rieti, Italy, on September … [+]
NurPhoto via Getty Images
This Fall, it will be especially important to get the flu shot. As I described recently for Forbes, Southern Hemisphere countries like Australia have had a particularly bad flu season over the past several months, which doesn’t bode well for the Northern Hemisphere. What happens in May through August in the Southern Hemisphere flu-wise tends to happen later in the year in the Northern Hemisphere. That’s because the world is, you know, not flat, and influenza viruses may make their way up North as the weather gets colder and drier.
Moreover, over the past two Winters, Covid-19 precautions like social distancing and face mask wearing have likely have helped keep flu activity quite low. That ain’t going to be the situation this coming Fall and Winter. As you’ve probably noticed, in the U.S. and many parts of Europe, people have been tossing Covid-19 precautions as if they were soiled underwear. Heck, political leaders such as U.S. President Joe Biden have even tried to suggest that the Covid-19 pandemic is over when it just isn’t, which could prompt folks to be even more lax. All of this could leave doors open to a “twindemic” of Covid-19 and flu that public health experts have been warning about for the last two Winters.
So yes, in the case of the flu vaccine and Covid-19 bivalent mRNA booster, you can do two things at once. That could help protect you should there be two surges of two different respiratory viruses this Fall and Winter.