COVID-19 Vaccine Booster and Flu Shot at the Same Time? Don’t Do It
You CAN, but in my opinion, you should schedule them separately and I'll explain why. Your arm will thank me later.
NOTE: This is an opinion piece based on MY experience. I am not a doctor of any kind. I'm simply a person who is cool with getting vaccines but would like to avoid overloading my body with tremendous pain. When scheduling your booster and/or flu shot, the online form and/or pharmacist may say it's totally fine to get BOTH shots at the same appointment...and that might be medically 100% true. I'm going to explain why I THINK it's a poor choice, and to schedule them separately.
This fall, many Americans will make their pilgrimage to their doctor or local pharmacy for their annual flu shot. I have always done so in very late September or early October. Other than a significantly sore arm for a day or so, I've never experienced any side effects from a flu shot. Neither did my elderly father, who always got one. Nor has my significant other.
COVID-19 boosters are also on the vaccine menu this fall. If you're like many people who got their COVID-19 shots "on schedule", this fall will mark approximately 6 months or a year since your last shot. (That depends on whether you got the two-dose course plus a booster or the single Johnson & Johnson, then another Johnson & Johnson shot.)
We were Johnson & Johnson people, not that it really matters. But we experienced ZERO side effects from either of the shots we got. (An initial full dose, then a booster J&J six months later.) We were able to choose whatever brand of booster we wanted, but since the J&J had no side effects for either of us, we simply went with that.
If you schedule a COVID-19 booster this fall 2022, you probably won't even see Johnson & Johnson as one of the options. OK, no problem. I picked Pfizer as I was going to anyway since it's a very different formulation and hopefully gives my body a more 'diverse' fighting chance against COVID-19? I don't know. But I had to pick one.
AS WITH MANY OTHERS, I SIGNED UP ONLINE THROUGH MY LOCAL PHARMACY'S WEBSITE. FLU AND COVID-19 BOOSTERS ARE OFFERED, AND YOU'RE ALMOST ENCOURAGED TO GET THEM BOTH IN ONE APPOINTMENT (ON THEIR WEBSITE).
To be clear, they were not PRESSURING me to get either one. But as someone who is on record with them as getting vaccines in the past, all of your vaccine options are listed and it's noted that you CAN get both a flu shot and a COVID-19 booster in the same visit. Great! How convenient! I'm a very busy person! I signed up for both vaccines at the same appointment.
Long story short: I get to the pharmacy, it's busy, they're running behind a bit AND for some reason, my insurance company has to approve my flu shot. Aren't those things typically free? (We wonder why our healthcare system is so screwed up.) Anyway, I can't wait much longer as we had to be someplace, so the nurse administering shots suggested just getting the COVID-19 booster I had signed up for and scheduling another appointment for the flu shot. Okie Dokie. Not much choice anyway...
I am so very thankful to have gotten JUST the COVID-19 booster shot. I did not experience any poor side effects aside from AN INCREDIBLY SORE ARM FOR 48 HOURS. And I mean, PAINFULLY sore...to the point where sleep was difficult. As noted above, the flu shot typically makes your upper arm sore for a day or so. That's just typical, common knowledge. I can't imagine how uncomfortably painful my arm and neck would have been, had I received BOTH vaccines at the same time.
The moral of the story is: If you're a vaccine person, go ahead and get those shots. But my PERSONAL OPINION is to not get a COVID-19 booster AND a flu shot on the same day. It's simply too painful...unless you have absolutely nothing you have to do for two days and don't mind popping ibuprofen every few hours just to manage it. Separate your appointment by at least a few days. I'm separating mine by a week. Be safe, be healthy, and Happy Fall.