You should get your Covid and flu vaccines the same day, says study

Dr Hilary believes flu is ‘more of a risk’ than Covid this winter

In the autumn and winter months we become more vulnerable to respiratory illnesses such as flu and COVID-19.

This is one of the reasons why health bodies in the UK have been urging eligible people to come forward to get vaccinated against both.

However, is it safe to get these jabs at the same time?

According to a new study the answer is yes, and doing so may even come with some benefits.

Research, presented at the Vaccines Summit Boston in the US this week, revealed that getting vaccinated against both Covid and flu together could produce a stronger antibody response against coronavirus than if they were given separately.

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The findings could be “very important” when it comes to informing public health decisions in the future, the study authors said.

As part of the study, scientists measured the antibody levels of 42 healthcare workers from Massachusetts who received their vaccines last autumn.

Of these participants, 12 were given a Covid booster and flu jab on the same day.

The other 30 had theirs on different days within the span of a month.

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In the three to four weeks after having the Covid boosters, study participants who had the flu jab at the same time were found to have higher levels of IgG1 – an antibody involved in the body’s front-line defence against Covid.

These results remained the same six months later, meaning the double vaccination could boost long-term protection.

As reported by NBC News, lead study author Susanna Barouch, said: “We showed that the Covid antibody responses were higher and more durable if the Covid and flu vaccines were given on the same day.”

However, it is worth noting that the research has not yet been published in a scientific journal and is currently under peer review.

Ryan McNamara, the lab’s director and senior author on the study, said the findings still need to be replicated in a larger group of volunteers.

But he said: “We thought that these findings were very important for immediate public health decision making.”

It is not exactly known why getting Covid and flu shots together might result in stronger, more lasting protection.

McNamara theorised that it could be due to the fact that most people’s bodies are already primed to produce Covid antibodies because they’ve been vaccinated or exposed to the virus before.

Therefore, giving two vaccines at once could awaken this immune response to a greater extent than one shot alone – leading to a stronger antibody response, he said.

If you are eligible for both a Covid and flu vaccine, it is possible to get the jabs at the same time via the NHS.

And the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US recommends getting both at once – although for convenience reasons.

The study findings have been posted to the preprint server BioRxiv.

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