As we enter the fall flu season and still live through COVID-19, adequate vaccine protection is crucial to staying safe. With new boosters that target the omicron variate now available at local pharmacies and the flu shot to be rolled out within the coming week, experts have stated that you can receive both shots at the same time. Still, there are other factors you should consider.
Getting the Flu Vaccine and COVID-19 Booster
According to Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, simultaneously getting your flu shot and COVID booster is the ideal situation. Doing this will save you time, trips to the pharmacy, and doubling down on your viral protection. If you get the vaccines at the same time, make sure you're getting the booster in one arm and the flu vaccine in the other. As with most vaccines, the side effects include a sore or tender arm; if you get both shots in the same arm, the pain and soreness can be extreme.
On the contrary, some professionals believe that getting both shots should not be based on the issue of convenience. The COVID-19 booster is dictated when your last shot was, typically a two months waiting period. You can receive the flu vaccine anytime during the fall and winter; however, before you rush to make an appointment, you should consider when peak flu season occurs. Traditionally, flu season peaks between December and February. If you receive the flu vaccine towards the end of September, it will not be as effective during the season's final months. Nevertheless, some experts recommend getting the vaccine towards the end of October instead.
How Much Does it Cost to Get Both Shots at Once?
Under the CDC guidelines, COVID-19 boosters and vaccines are still free, no matter your health insurance or immigration status. If you have health insurance coverage, flu vaccines are 100% covered by your insurance plan. Without insurance, the out-of-pocket cost of the flu shot can range between $20 and $75, depending on your location and pharmacy. The chart below lists the price for flu shots at popular nationwide pharmacies.
|Pharmacy||Flu Shot Cost|
Are There Additional Side Effects That Come with Getting Both Vaccines at the Same Time?
Currently, researchers are unsure if there are worse side effects associated with getting both shots together. It's important to note that everyone experiences side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot differently, and each has its possible side effects.
|Covid-19 Booster Side Effects||Flu Vaccine Side Effects|
|Tiredness||Soreness or redness at the site of injection|
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COVID-19 Booster and Flu Vaccine FAQ(s)
Below is a list of frequently asked questions about booster and flu vaccine side effects, the timeline for receiving each vaccine, and information on the different booster brands.
How Do I Know If I Am Eligible for the Flu Vaccine?
According to the CDC, anyone at least six months old can get the flu shot yearly. While it's possible to get the flu after getting vaccinated, you have a lower risk of having a severe case or ending up in the hospital. Additionally, people at high risk of severe illness from the flu should prioritize getting the vaccine. High-risk groups include but are not limited to:
- People at least 65 years old
- Children under 2 years old
- People with underlying conditions such as COPD and asthma
- People with weakened immune systems
- Pregnant people are people who are planning to be pregnant
If I Want to Get My Flu Vaccine at a Later Date, How Long Should I Wait Between Shots?
While it's perfectly safe to get a COVID booster and flu shot at the same time, there is not a set amount of time you should wait to get the flu shot following your booster shot. If you are spreading your shots, it's best to plan it around peak months for the flu. Flu season typically goes from Mid-November to Late February. To have the most effective protection for flu season, experts suggest getting the vaccine towards the end of October.
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Does My Booster Shot Need To Be From the Same Company As My Orginal Vaccine?
No. No matter which vaccine you initially received, your booster shoots can be from any of the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines. Mixing and Matching the vaccines will not decrease their effectiveness or cause additional side effects. However, if you are set on keeping all your vaccines from the same company, ask your pharmacies which vaccines they have in stock.
Getting the flu shot and a COVID-19 booster at the same time is more than safe, as long as you are receiving one shot per arm. However, before you rush out to make the dual appointment, you should consider how long it's been since your last COVID-19 booster and how susceptible you are to the flu, as experts recommend getting the flu vaccine close to the start of the flu season. Another thing to consider before booking your appointment is the cost. Although COVID boosters are free, the flu vaccine can cost between $20- $75 without insurance.
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Originally from Houston, Texas, Alexandra is currently getting her Master's in Public Health with a health policy certificate at Columbia University. One of her life goals is to own her own art gallery!