The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new guidance on vaccine scheduling just in time for flu season. Under the new guidance, individuals who receive a Covid-19 vaccine no longer need to wait 14 days before receiving other vaccines, meaning you can now get a Covid-19 vaccine and a flu shot on the same day.
“Covid-19 vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing of other vaccines,” the CDC’s updated guidance reads. “This includes simultaneous administration of Covid-19 vaccine and other vaccines on the same day, as well as coadministration within 14 days.”
The CDC said it previously recommended Covid-19 vaccines be administered alone and with a buffer of 14 days between it and other vaccines “out of an abundance of caution.” That caution, however, was not related to any known safety or immunogenicity concerns but rather because of how new the vaccines were. While data regarding the simultaneous administration of other vaccines with Covid-19 vaccines remains unavailable, the CDC said “extensive experience” with other vaccines has proved that immunogenicity and adverse reactions tend to be similar whether vaccines are administered simultaneously or alone.
In light of the CDC’s update, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended any child age 12 or older who has not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19 obtain both a flu shot and a Covid-19 vaccine. Additionally, the AAP has recommended all children older than 6 months get vaccinated against the flu.
“As we continue to face another year of the COVID-19 pandemic, timely influenza vaccination of all persons 6 months of age and older, is a priority this year,” Dr. Flor M. Munoz said in a statement released by the AAP. “This is particularly important for anyone who has medical conditions that increase the risk for complications for both influenza and COVID-19, including children.”
While Covid-19 vaccines can now be administered at the same time as other vaccines, the CDC has cautioned healthcare professionals from administering the vaccines into the same injection site. In adults and adolescents, for example, the CDC has recommended administering vaccines at least one inch apart.
In previous years, the CDC has recommended children be fully vaccinated against the flu by the end of October, a time when flu season generally kicks into gear across the country. But there is at least one instance where parents will likely want to hold off on scheduling their child for a flu shot, and that’s if they’re already seriously ill with Covid.
While the AAP has said children who show mild illness due to Covid-19 can still get vaccinated against influenza, they recommend kids who show signs of moderate or severe illness wait until they have recovered from the virus to get vaccinated.