Q: Serena from Australia asks: “In Australia it’s time for our flu vax. How long do I need between this and COVID-19 vaccination?”
A: Ideally, there would be 14 days before or after getting the COVID-19 vaccine and any other vaccine.
However, there may be situations where a shorter interval between would be ok.
Folks in the Southern Hemisphere are getting ready for their next #flu season. Their typical influenza season is from April to September while it is usually around October to April in the Northern Hemisphere. Hopefully, everyone below the Equator sees a similarly low flu season!
Of course, one of the best ways to see that happen is by getting the flu shot. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI) both recommend separating the #COVID-19 vaccine from any other vaccines by 14 days (links below). This is based on a lack of safety and efficacy data for getting the COVID-19 vaccine with other vaccines. Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) excluded study participants if they received the flu shot within 14 days before or after receiving the study vaccine. AstraZeneca did allow for flu shots, but the study design didn’t let them look at the impact of co-administration of the vaccines. AstraZeneca participants could get the flu shot but were encouraged to receive it at least 7 days before or after the COVID-19 vaccine. So, we are left with not enough info here.
Both the CDC and ATAGI point out that there may be times someone would get the flu shot (or other non-COVID-19 vaccine) earlier than that 14-day window. These could include if there was a risk to health and safety (like stepping on a nail and needing a tetanus shot) or because it would reduce barriers to getting the COVID-19 vaccine (like the pharmacy is available to vaccinate everyone in a nursing home but it’s only been 10 days since everyone got the flu shot).
If a COVID-19 vaccine is administered within 14 days of another vaccine, the dose for EITHER vaccine does not need to be repeated. They still count and there is no reason to believe they didn’t work.
There are planned trials to look at the safety of giving a COVID-19 vaccine with other vaccines. Stay tuned as we get more information!