By Andrea Miner, HHS CHW-CAC
It’s Flu season, and this year COVID-19 vaccines are available. Vaccines were created to produce antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases. Many people are wondering if it’s safe to get both vaccines. The answer is yes—it is safe. Heartland Health Services’ Dr. Sarah Koscica, MD, and Michelle Reed, Clinical & Quality Educator answered questions about what you need to know about the flu and COVID vaccine.
Q: When is the ideal time to get the flu shot?
A. Between September and October, with the flu peaking between December and February. It takes about two weeks to build up antibodies.
Q: Can I get my flu shot too early?
A. You would not want to get it before September as the protection can decrease over time.
Q: What happens if I get the flu shot too late?
A. You do not know when you will be exposed, and it takes two weeks to build up enough antibodies that protect against the flu. The best time is well before the peak of flu season. Early Fall is recommended.
Q: If a COVID booster is authorized, can I get the flu shot simultaneously?
A. Yes, the CDC guidance states that you can get both vaccines at the same visit or separate visits if you prefer.
Q: If I get them at the same time, will I potentially have more side effects?
A. It is logical to think that by getting them simultaneously, you may experience more side effects. The side effects for both are similar and usually mild and pass after a day or two. Everyone’s response is different, and we do not have much national data to evaluate yet.
Q: Is there anything else that is important for people to know?
A. The vaccines given at the same time do not counteract each other in any way, and co-administering vaccines is a longtime practice. We have been providing multiple vaccines to children even in the same shot for many years.
Heartland Health Services is scheduling appointments for the flu and COVID-19 vaccines. Please call 309.680.7600 to make that appointment today! #heartofthecommunity #behealthybesafe