DES MOINES, Iowa — As we enter flu season, local health experts want Iowans to know it is safe to get both the flu and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.
Unitypoint Health and Broadlawns Medical Center both have already started administering both vaccines to patients and staff at the same time and said they’ve seen no issues.
Chief Physician Quality Officer at Broadlawns Medical Center, Dr. Nicole Gilg Gachiani, points out that the U.S has been administering multiple vaccines to people for decades.
“We do this a lot, particularly with the pediatric population where we will give multiple vaccines at the same time. And we know and have evidence that the body is able to mount an appropriate immune response to these different vaccinations that is safe and effective for a person,” Dr. Gachiani said.
When the COVID-19 vaccine was first introduced, the CDC did advise against getting both vaccines at once.
As of a few months ago, the CDC has changed that recommendation and encourages Americans to get both together if it works for their schedule.
Local health experts explain that though COVID and flu symptoms can be the same, the vaccines only target the individual viruses in the body.
While most COVID vaccines that Americans have taken are made with a MRNA technology, flu shots are different and contain an inactivated virus that prepares the body to solely fight influenza.
Infectious Disease Specialist for UnityPoint Health, Dr. Layla Best, said that people can experience mild symptoms after getting both shots but the health risk of going into these winter months without them is more severe.
“We already have a huge surge of patients being admitted to the hospitals and we are struggling to have beds for everyone,” Dr. Best said. “Vaccines are safe, they have shown they actually are very beneficial as well in decreasing severity of the disease and decreasing mortality.”
Dr. Gachiani advised getting the two vaccines in different arms to manage soreness and easily identify which vaccine causes an allergic reaction if any.