With COVID vaccines readily available across Alabama, and flu season now beginning, the world is wondering—is it safe to overlap COVID and flu vaccines? Read on for insight from a qualified expert at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.
Meet the expert
First things first, let’s meet the expert. Because credible sources matter.
This is Dr. Darrel Weaver, MD. He is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama‘s Vice President of Healthcare Networks.
He’s also been a board-certified physician for nearly 30 years, and has seen roughly 95,000 patients during that time. It’s safe to say he’s definitely an expert in his field.
Overlapping COVID and flu vaccines
So, is it safe to overlap COVID and flu vaccines? Further, would it be safe to get them administered at the same appointment?
According to Dr. Weaver, it’s not only safe, but also encouraged. It’s a great way to simplify the logistics of multiple vaccine appointments and make the whole experience a one-stop shop. He also confirmed there has not been any documented cross-reactivity, and both shots will be just as effective.
“COVID and the flu are diseases that you can get very sick or even die from. There are safe and effective vaccines out there, and I would encourage everybody to get them.”—Dr. Darrel Weaver, Vice President Healthcare Networks, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama
Protect yourself and your community by getting vaccinated today.
Flu shots for those fully vaccinated against COVID
We’ve got good news for those fully vaccinated against COVID, too. Dr. Weaver says getting your flu shot will be business as usual this year.
In fact, when we spoke with Dr. Weaver he had just received his flu vaccine. He is fully vaccinated against COVID and had no issues from his flu vaccination, aside from the usual sore arm.
If you are fully vaccinated against COVID, consider becoming a local champion in your community.
When should we get our flu vaccine?
In an ideal world, you’d get your flu shot before the weather turns cold. Dr. Weaver says this isn’t because the virus likes cold weather, but rather because it tends to spread when people are huddled together indoors, usually in the colder months.
That explains why flu numbers were quite low last year, as many of us spent time quarantining and avoiding large indoor gatherings. Unfortunately, Dr. Weaver suspects that this could lead to a surge in flu cases this year.
He explained that the flu is a bit different each year, and that’s why we get a shot for it annually. All the years that we either had the flu or got a flu shot built our immunity for what’s to come next. So, because we have a gap in natural immunity from the past year, we could be in store for a flu season that’s worse than average.
“Worst case scenario would be—what happens if a normal flu season hits right on top of another new COVID variant, and we go through what the country is seeing now with totally full hospitals and ICUs? Please get your shots, so that we don’t have a nightmare situation in two to four months with flu and COVID resurgence.”——Dr. Darrel Weaver, Vice President Healthcare Networks, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama