Is it OK to get COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot at the same time?

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Flu season has arrived, and for anyone who received their last COVID-19 vaccine in July or earlier, so has the time for a booster.

Many provinces have already begun offering both the new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine that targets the Omicron strain and the annual influenza vaccine. Others, such as Ontario, will offer the flu shot beginning in November. Both vaccines are safe, and available free of charge.

Someone due for both their COVID-19 booster and their flu shot might be wondering if it’s possible to save time by getting both shots together. Public health advice on combining vaccinations has changed over the course of the pandemic, so a bit of confusion is natural.

Here’s what Health Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and pharmacists are saying right now.

CAN YOU BOOK A FLU SHOT AND COVID-19 BOOSTER AT THE SAME TIME?

According to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time as, or any time before or after, other vaccines. This includes live, non-live, adjuvanted or unadjuvanted vaccines.

NACI previously recommended that COVID-19 vaccines be given at least 28 days before and 14 days after other vaccines, but changed its position in September 2021 after reviewing the evolving data around COVID-19 vaccination.

Dr. Tiana Tilli is a clinical pharmacist and lecturer at the University of British Columbia’s Pharmacists’ Clinic. She was one of many pharmacists administering COVID-19 vaccines at a time when NACI advised against giving them in combination with over vaccines.

Tilli said in the early days of COVID-19 vaccines, health-care professionals and researchers wanted to observe the vaccines’ side effects without interference from the side effects of other vaccines.

“We didn’t want to muddy the picture. We wanted to have really robust post-marketing surveillance,” she told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview on Friday.

“Now we’ve had COVID vaccines around for a while and so we have the data we need from that perspective, and so now we’re comfortable saying you can get them on the same day or any amount of time after (another vaccine).”

Provinces and territories have their own strategies for delivering vaccinations, so consult your doctor or pharmacist to find out how to book both vaccines in one appointment.

Source CTV News