Claire Boogaard, MD, a pediatrician at Children’s National, wrote in the Rise and Shine newsletter that now that flu season is quickly approaching and COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 are on the horizon, you might be wondering if it’s safe to get shots for both at once. To help you, we asked pediatrician Dr. Claire Boogaard some questions about the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine.

Is it safe for my child to get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?

Yes, as long as your child is eligible to get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine, then it is safe to administer them together.

Previously, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said it wasn’t safe for kids to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines. What made them change their minds?

Initially, the CDC recommended trying to space the COVID-19 vaccine from other vaccines to decrease the expected side effects that occur after administration, because co-administration could increase the reactogenicity of the vaccines (i.e., the immune response reactions that are expected after vaccines, such as fever, chills, headache, etc.). However, given that we are in a global pandemic, the CDC decided to eliminate any unnecessary barriers to getting vaccinated.

In addition, the pandemic has led to a drop in routine vaccinations — some people stopped getting preventive care during the pandemic because they didn’t see it as essential and didn’t want to risk exposure to the coronavirus. Co-administration of vaccines allows these individuals to catch up on routine vaccinations.

Will getting the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu shot at the same time affect how well each vaccine works?

No, there is no evidence that co-administration decreases the efficacy of either vaccine.

Will getting the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same time cause any unusual side effects?

While there may be a risk of increased reactogenicity with co-administration, these side effects are expected as your body builds a response. All side effects should resolve in 1-2 days.

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