Flu season has arrived, and for anybody who obtained their final COVID-19 vaccine in July or earlier, so has the time for a booster.
Many provinces have already begun providing each the new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine that targets the Omicron pressure and the annual influenza vaccine. Others, corresponding to Ontario, will provide the flu shot starting in November. Both vaccines are protected, and obtainable freed from cost.
Someone due for each their COVID-19 booster and their flu shot could be questioning if it’s potential to save time by getting each shots collectively. Public well being recommendation on combining vaccinations has modified over the course of the pandemic, so a little bit of confusion is pure.
Here’s what Health Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and pharmacists are saying proper now.
CAN YOU BOOK A FLU SHOT AND COVID-19 BOOSTER AT THE SAME TIME?
According to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, COVID-19 vaccines may be given at the same time as, or any time earlier than or after, different vaccines. This consists of stay, non-live, adjuvanted or unadjuvanted vaccines.
NACI beforehand really helpful that COVID-19 vaccines be given at least 28 days earlier than and 14 days after different vaccines, however modified its place in September 2021 after reviewing the evolving information round COVID-19 vaccination.
Dr. Tiana Tilli is a scientific pharmacist and lecturer at the University of British Columbia’s Pharmacists’ Clinic. She was one in every of many pharmacists administering COVID-19 vaccines at a time when NACI suggested in opposition to giving them together with over vaccines.
Tilli stated in the early days of COVID-19 vaccines, health-care professionals and researchers wished to observe the vaccines’ uncomfortable side effects with out interference from the uncomfortable side effects of different vaccines.
“We did not need to muddy the image. We wished to have actually sturdy post-marketing surveillance,” she advised CTVNews.ca in a telephone interview on Friday.
“Now we have had COVID vaccines round for some time and so we’ve the information we’d like from that perspective, and so now we’re comfy saying you possibly can get them on the same day or any period of time after (one other vaccine).”
Provinces and territories have their very own methods for delivering vaccinations, so seek the advice of your physician or pharmacist to learn how to ebook each vaccines in a single appointment.
IS IT SAFE?
Health Canada has not recognized any particular security issues for individuals receiving routine vaccines at the same time or inside days of one another.
Natalie Crown, pharmacist and director of the physician of pharmacy program at the University of Toronto, in contrast getting the two shots collectively to different circumstances the place individuals obtain multiple vaccine at a time, corresponding to for journey.
“It’s not unusual to give vaccines collectively,” she stated. “I believe the key message for Canadians is that getting the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine is protected, and we do not have data to counsel it impacts the effectiveness of 1 vaccine or the different. So they are often given collectively.”
ARE SIDE EFFECTS WORSE FOR PEOPLE WHO RECEIVE BOTH SHOTS AT ONCE?
Health Canada warns there’s a risk of elevated short-term uncomfortable side effects when a COVID-19 vaccine and one other vaccine are given at the same time or inside days of one another, however Tilli stated that should not deter anybody from getting each vaccinations in a single appointment.
She stated the uncomfortable side effects from receiving each shots at as soon as could be worse than the regular uncomfortable side effects related to the flu shot, however not noticeably worse than uncomfortable side effects related to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Everyone’s going to be totally different,” she stated. “But I might count on it to be pretty related to what individuals’s earlier COVID vaccine uncomfortable side effects have been.”
As for a way these uncomfortable side effects would possibly really feel, Crown stated it varies considerably based mostly on how every particular person’s immune system responds to the vaccine, however they’re typically gentle.
“You can count on to have a barely sore arm for often a day or two, and some individuals…could really feel extra drained than regular, they could really feel achy,” Crown stated. “That’s only a sign our physique is mounting the immune response we wish it to in response to a vaccine.”
SHOULD YOU GET BOTH VACCINES IN THE SAME ARM OR ONE IN EACH?
Health Canada says vaccines given throughout the same go to ought to be administered at totally different injection websites. Crown clarified that the two websites may very well be totally different arms or totally different factors on the same arm.
“You can get each vaccines in the same arm,” she stated, explaining that the deltoid muscle, the muscle into which flu and COVID-19 vaccines are injected, is massive sufficient to accommodate two injection websites an inch or so aside.
“Typically what the supplier will do is that they’ll house out the injection website a bit.”
Both Crown and Tilli stated they might accommodate sufferers whether or not they wished their vaccinations collectively in the same arm or in separate arms. It largely comes down to whether or not somebody desires post-vaccination ache in a single or each arms.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF GETTING THEM AT THE SAME TIME?
There are potential advantages to each people and the health-care system when people who find themselves eligible get each vaccines at as soon as.
According to Health Canada, administering flu shots at the same time as COVID-19 vaccines will assist ease the rollout of the influenza vaccine program in the fall and winter and make it simpler for everybody to obtain their shots.
“For people, I believe it’s extra handy to simply have to go in as soon as,” Tilli stated. “If individuals are fearful about uncomfortable side effects…you solely have to sort of expertise it as soon as. And then I believe the most vital factor is we’re getting that sooner safety.”
That sooner safety, Tilli stated, advantages different Canadians and the health-care system.
“The faster we will get individuals protected, hopefully the much less enhance in instances and the much less impact we see on hospital capability.”