Pharmacist recommends if its safe to have the Covid and flu vaccine together

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The UK’s Covid and flu vaccination programmes were due to start in October. But with the new Covid variant, BA.2.86, in circulation, the NHS was asked to bring the programmes forward, making vaccinations available for eligible people from September 11.

While experts continue to understand the impact of the new Covid variant, dubbed Pirola, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS England Medical Director, said in a statement “vaccinations are our best defence against flu and COVID-19 ahead of what could be a very challenging winter”.

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. So is it safe to get the Covid and flu vaccines at the same time?

George Sandhu, Deputy Superintendent Pharmacist at Well Pharmacy, said “it’s fine”.

He said: “It is fine to have both covid and flu vaccinations together. Co-administration is common medical practice and is recommended – you’ll normally have one in each arm.”

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His advice on side effects: “This is due to the way vaccines work, by promoting a response from your immune system.

“Most side effects such as soreness where you had the injection, feeling tired or general aches are mild and short-term and not everyone will experience them.”

Serious side effects are very rare, said Sandhu, and are likely to happen fairly quickly after administration.

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He added: “If you are worried you should speak to your pharmacist or call 111.”

The following people are eligible for a seasonal Covid vaccine:

  • aged 65 years old or over (you need to be 65 years old by 31 March 2024)
  • aged 6 months to 64 years old and are at increased risk
  • living in a care home for older adults
  • a frontline health or social care worker
  • aged 16 to 64 years old and are a carer
  • aged 12 to 64 years old and live with someone with a weakened immune system

Vaccine side effects

Most side effects of the Covid vaccination are mild and shouldn’t last longer than a week.

The NHS said you may experience the following symptoms:

  • A sore arm from the injection
  • Feeling tired
  • A headache
  • Feeling achy
  • Mild flu-like symptoms
  • Feeling or being sick

You should contact 111 if you or your child had a Covid vaccine and:

  • Have symptoms that keep getting worse
  • You’re worried about your or your child’s symptoms

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