Can you get a COVID booster and flu shot at the same time?
If you’re confused about how to protect yourself against cold and flu season and COVID-19, Dr. Frita Fisher and Dr. Shamard Charles explain the power of boosters and vaccines.
Winter is quickly approaching, and if you’re confused about how to prepare your body for the uptick in viruses that come with the cold season, you’re not alone.
We asked Frita Fisher, an Atlanta-based nephrologist, about vaccines for the flu and COVID-19. With both flu shots and COVID-19 boosters available, is it safe to take both of them simultaneously? Here’s her response:
“It is safe. And in fact, my father just got his flu vaccination in his COVID-19 booster on the same day,” Fisher discloses in a recent interview on theGrio Weekly.
Fisher says it’s important to recognize that getting a vaccine or booster shot doesn’t mean you’re making yourself sick. “I know there are people who are listening who will think, you see, I can get the flu from the flu shot, but I get sick every time I get the flu shot,” Fisher tells theGrio. “Your body’s immune system is being revved up when you get the flu vaccination. So you may feel sick, you may have some malaise or even a low-grade fever after you get the flu vaccination. But it is not the flu. It’s just your immune system getting ready to protect you for when the real flu comes around.”
When it comes to COVID-19 boosters, there may also be confusion about how they differ from the actual vaccine. A booster is an additional dose of a vaccine that you get after the protection from your original vaccine starts to decrease, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“There are many other vaccines that have waning immunity,” public health doctor Shamard Charles says in a previous interview with theGrio. “Sometimes the strength of our immunity or the strength of protection against certain diseases, sometimes that does go down because our antibody levels go down.”
Okay, so when should I get a COVID booster and get a flu shot?
It’s important to update your COVID-19 boosters and flu shot as soon as possible.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC, “people ages 5 years and older receive one updated (bivalent) booster if it has been at least 2 months since their last COVID-19 vaccine dose.”
The word “bivalent” means the booster protects against the original COVID-19 virus and Omicronvariants BA.4 and BA.5.
Regarding your flu shot, Fisher says don’t delay getting it. “If you have not gotten your flu vaccine, please run,” Fisher tells theGrio. “Don’t walk and get it. Because yes, people do sleep on the flu. They think, ‘Maybe it’s just a little cold,’ or ‘I never get the flu and I’ll be fine.’ But the flu can kill people.”
For the full conversation with Fisher, tune into theGrio Weekly’s YouTube playlist and download theGrio app.
Natasha S. Alford is an award-winning journalist, filmmaker, and media executive driven by the power of storytelling. As the VP of Digital Content and a Sr. Correspondent, Natasha leads strategy around the creation of original content for TheGrio.
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