Patients can now receive their COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot during the same visit. This is an updated recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People with diabetes are at risk from flu
Influenza (“the flu”) can have serious consequences for people with diabetes. In addition to the effects of the flu itself, the infection can also cause serious problems. For example, the flu can trigger a heart attack in people at risk of cardiovascular disease, including those living with diabetes. Last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of flu were very low in the United States and elsewhere. However, that does not mean that it will be the same this winter.
Until now, it has been unclear how close together a person should have the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccinating adults and children
Previously, the CDC recommended that people receive their COVID vaccinations alone and schedule any other vaccinations at least two weeks before or after their COVID shots. The CDC has now issued new guidance which allows for injection of COVID vaccines with other vaccines, including the flu shot. The American Academy of Pediatrics also announced that children eligible for the COVID vaccine (children 12 years and older) may get both the flu and COVID vaccines during the same visit.
Side effects from flu vaccine
Although there is limited data about giving COVID vaccines with other vaccines, it seems that the risks of side effects are generally the same when vaccines are given simultaneously compared to when they are given alone. However, some flu vaccines (such as high-dose or the adjuvanted inactivated flu vaccine) are more likely to cause a local reaction. If possible, these should be injected in different arms/legs.
Getting a flu vaccine at the same time or separately from a COVID vaccination or booster is a matter of personal preference and convenience.