Can My Child Get The COVID-19 Vaccine And Flu Shot At The Same Time?
On October 26, 2021, the FDA advisory committee (VRBPAC) recommended lowering the age eligibility for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to 5 years of age. It is thought that within the next two weeks, the COVID-19 vaccine will be available for anyone 5 years of age or older. With that in mind, and with flu season ramping up, we asked the director of our vaccine research center, Dr. Bob Frenck, about getting your child vaccinated against both COVID-19 and the flu. Here are his answers.
Frequently Asked Questions About the COVID-19 Vaccine and Flu Shot
Is it OK for my child to get the COVID vaccine and their flu shot at the same time?
Yes. There is no need to spread out the two vaccines. Remember the COVID vaccine requires two doses for the whole series, so parents will need to schedule two appointments for the COVID vaccine. If your child has not yet had their flu shot, it is OK to schedule the flu shot and one dose of the COVID vaccine to be given at one appointment.
Is there any reason to space out the COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot?
No. The data we have shows no increased safety risk and no decrease in immune response if you receive the flu shot and COVID vaccine together.
Should I skip my child’s flu shot this year because they’re getting the COVID vaccine?
No. The flu shot is important every year because flu seasons are unpredictable. Flu deaths over the last 40 years have ranged from 3,000 to nearly 60,000 per year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Cincinnati, we see 80-100 kids hospitalized with complications from the flu every flu season, many of whom are otherwise healthy. We don’t want to see kids in the ICU with a condition easily prevented by getting a flu vaccine.
Flu season typically starts in October and continues into the spring. Now is a good time to get your child’s annual flu shot if you haven’t already.
In the clinical trials, did some kids have similar side effects as adults after receiving the COVID vaccine (i.e., tiredness, headache)? Should I try to schedule my child’s COVID vaccine on a Friday so they can have a recovery day built in?
The side effects children have been experiencing, if any, are the same as those experienced by adults. The most common side effects are pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue and muscle ache. Less than 10% of children have had fever after the vaccine. The severity of the side effects typically are mild so most children are not needing to miss school. However, if you wanted to decrease the risk of missing school, receiving the vaccine on a Friday should help.
Where can I get my child’s COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot?
- Your pediatrician’s office should have a supply of both the COVID vaccine and flu vaccine on hand.
- Cincinnati Children’s has COVID-19 vaccine clinics available and is scheduling appointments now for those ages 12 and up. Appointments will be open to kids ages 5 and up once the vaccine is available for those ages.
- Most pharmacies are also scheduling appointments for both the COVID vaccine and flu vaccine.