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September 20 2022

COVID-19 and Flu Vaccines

The start of fall signals a reminder to get your flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the flu shot to help reduce your risk of serious illness and hospitalization. It also helps protect people around you, including young children, babies, older adults and individuals with chronic conditions.

According to the CDC’s guidance, you can get the updated, bivalent COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as your flu shot. However, experts are pointing out that timing is an important difference in how you should approach immunization. Flu and COVID-19 are two different viruses.

Individuals ages 12 years and older are eligible for the updated, bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster. These are updated shots from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech that target both the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the coronavirus. Experts recommend getting the booster as soon as you can, as it can help restore protection that has waned since the previous vaccination and helps protect against the new variants.

The flu shot decreases in effectiveness over the course of a flu season. Work done by researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center and the Harvard School of Public Health estimated vaccine effectiveness declined by about 18% for every 28-day period after vaccination. “You’ve got about four months of pretty solid protection,” said Emily Martin, an associate professor of epidemiology who specializes in flu at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Experts recommend getting the vaccine in mid to late-October, as flu season typically peaks in February or March.

The CDC notes that there is limited data available right now on receiving both vaccines at the same time, but there are no major concerns. If you had a side effect from either vaccine in the past, it’s recommended to get one shot in each arm if you’re getting the COVID-19 booster and flu shot at the same time, or schedule two visits.



“Your Questions about the New COVID Booster Shots, Answered.” Scientific American. 16 September 2022.

“CDC Recommends the First Updated COVID-19 Booster.” CDC Newsroom. 1 September 2022.

“Depletion-of-susceptibles Bias in Analyses of Intra-season Waning of Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness.” Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clinical Infection Diseases Brief Report. 1 April 2020.

“You can get your COVID-19 booster and flu shots at the same time”. 14 September 2022.