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It’s essential to get both your flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine to be protected against illnesses. Getty Images
  • The campaign to get people vaccinated against the flu will coincide with the Biden administration’s plan of requiring people in companies with over 100 employees to get either vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.
  • The CDC confirmed that it’s fine to get the COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time.
  • Experts note that the combination of COVID-19 and flu viruses “could be pretty lethal,” particularly for people in high-risk groups.

We all know how important it is to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but with colder weather returning, it’s also time to think about the flu.

The campaign to get people vaccinated against the flu will coincide with the Biden administration’s plans to require companies with over 100 employees to get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.

Health officials hope the plan will lead to a significant increase in COVID-19 vaccinations. Right now, only about 54 percent of people in the United States are fully immunized against COVID-19.

Also, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will decide soon whether most people in the United States should start getting COVID-19 booster shots.

After last year’s very mild flu season, many people might wonder whether getting a flu shot is essential this year. Others may be worried about receiving two shots during the same visit since vaccine doses are typically spaced out. We talked with experts about what to know.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed in its 2021-2022 flu season guidance that, yes, it’s fine to get the COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time.

“Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health every year. Take recommended precautions to protect yourself from COVID-19 while getting your flu vaccine,” the CDC wrote.

“Basically, everybody should be vaccinated against the flu,” Len Horovitz, MD, internist and pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, told Healthline. “There’s no reason, unless there’s vaccine allergy, a history of Guillain-Barré, or sometimes there’s [people with] multiple sclerosis [that] should not be vaccinated, but those are unusual cases.”

A study by Bristol University in the United Kingdom is looking at whether booster COVID-19 vaccines can safely be given at the same time as flu vaccines.

The ComFluCov study found many groups can safely receive a booster dose alongside flu vaccine.

“While we usually like a couple of weeks between vaccines, [and] in the past we’ve sort of demanded that, it seems as if the flu vaccine and the mRNA vaccines can be given together,” Horovitz said.

Horovitz noted that last year flu cases were down sharply because of physical or social distancing and masking measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“Let me just say this about the ‘twindemic,’ that was a term coined last year at this time, it scared people to death,” said Horovitz. “The fact is that we saw very little of flu and other coronaviruses and strep because of masking.”

The CDC estimates that 12,000 to 61,000 people die each year due to the flu. However, masking and physical distancing prevented the majority of cases last year.

“For that reason, if people still adhere to masking mandates, it may well be that we don’t get any more incidence than we had last season,” he said. “It’s just a matter of if people will mask or not once they’re fully vaccinated.”

The CDC noted that wearing a mask and physical distancing also offer protection from respiratory viruses, such as flu and COVID-19, but getting a flu vaccine offers even more significant benefits.

“The best way to reduce your risk of flu illness and its potentially serious complications is for everyone 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine each year,” the CDC wrote. “By getting a flu vaccine, you may also be protecting people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.”

Another reason to get your flu shot this year is that states, including New York and California, have lifted many mask and physical distancing mandates. This could mean the flu virus might circulate much more freely than last year.

Teresa Murray Amato, MD, chair, Emergency Medicine at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills in New York, confirmed that you can “definitely” contract both the coronavirus and the flu virus at the same time.

“In the spring of 2020, we did see a few patients who tested positive for both the flu and COVID-19,” she said.

While COVID-19 is far more dangerous overall than the flu, the flu can still be severe for some groups, Amato warned. Certain people, including the very young and very old, can be at increased risk for severe or even dangerous diseases.

“We definitely recommend the flu shot for anyone who is eligible,” she said. “But especially in the higher risk groups.”

Horovitz said the combination of COVID-19 and flu viruses “could be pretty lethal,” particularly people in high-risk groups.

However, while Amato said you can “absolutely” get both the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine, she emphasized that it’s best to first speak to your doctor about what the timing should be for both vaccines.

The annual flu season is swiftly approaching, and health experts say that it’s safe to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and flu at the same time.

Experts confirm that it’s possible to contract both the flu virus and the coronavirus, and the consequences could be deadly.

They also say that you should speak with your doctor first to find out if getting both shots at the same time is right for you.