All the news we hear seems to be hyper-focused on the COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, let’s not forget about an important component to staying well in 2021–the flu shot! It’s not too late for a flu shot! If you haven’t already, the CDC says that there’s still time to get your flu shot this winter. In addition, getting both a COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine shouldn’t be a problem, but it might be a good idea to space those vaccinations out a few days to a few weeks apart. Speak to your provider to determine the best course of action for you.
What if I haven’t had my flu shot yet?
It’s not too late for your flu shot. In fact, medical professionals are heavily encouraging flu shots this year more than ever. The reason being, that the medical community wants to prevent the combination of flu and COVID-19. The CDC is urging “healthcare personnel [to] use every opportunity during the influenza vaccination season to administer influenza vaccines to all eligible persons.”
Is it possible to get COVID-19 and flu at the same time?
It’s possible. Studies show that while it’s rare to be infected with the COVID-19 virus and the flu virus at the same time — the unlucky ones who do experience a double infection are more likely to become extremely sick. Early studies show that in COVID-19 patients with co-infection experienced a higher risk of more severe illness, longer hospital stays, and, by some estimates were twice as likely to die.
What if I’ve already had the flu? Do I really need a flu shot?
Even if you’ve already had the flu, there are different types of flu viruses. Getting sick with the flu once does not necessarily protect you from the other flu viruses. The flu vaccine will cover the other strains of flu and protect you from those.
If you’ve recently been sick with flu, COVID-19, or any other illness, experts suggest waiting at least 10 days after you are symptom-free to get your flu shot. Some people who are immunocompromised or who suffer from severe illness might have to wait longer. Please discuss this with your provider.