Flu shot, COVID-19 booster administration overlap

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By Soumya Sathyanarayana, Co-Webmaster The new COVID-19 booster is now available for those ages 6 and older. This booster is bivalent, as opposed to the older monovalent booster, meaning one-half of the vaccine contains the original COVID-19 strain and the other half contains the two most common strains this season, subvariants Omicron BA.4 and BA.5. ...

By Soumya Sathyanarayana, Co-Webmaster

The new COVID-19 booster is now available for those ages 6 and older. This booster is bivalent, as opposed to the older monovalent booster, meaning one-half of the vaccine contains the original COVID-19 strain and the other half contains the two most common strains this season, subvariants Omicron BA.4 and BA.5. 

The FDA approved Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s bivalent formulations of the booster. It is designed for individuals to take as a single dose at least two months after primary vaccination or another booster. This booster offers broader protection from COVID-19 but can cause symptoms like headaches, muscle aches, colds and fevers.

Lindsay Walheim, a nurse at Conestoga, has seen cases of students with side effects from receiving the COVID-19 booster. 

“We definitely have some students coming down saying they had their COVID-19 booster yesterday and aren’t feeling well and need to either just take some medication to help them get through the day or sometimes go home,” Walheim said. 

Fall is also the time at which people get their yearly flu shot, which has a similar symptom profile to the booster. Both the flu shot and the COVID-19 booster can have side effects that deter people from getting them at the same time. Some prefer to take both shots at the same time to avoid facing the side effects twice and potentially missing work or school.

Sophomore Anshi Maurya took both vaccines together in mid-October. She missed a day of school because of severe symptoms from taking both vaccines.

“I took both shots at the same time to get it over with all at once and I wouldn’t have to miss more school than needed,” Maurya said. “I was extremely tired and sore.”

The CDC recommends that people take both vaccines at the same time, which is a common practice called co-administration. It is convenient in case one cannot make another appointment.

Though taking both vaccines at the same time can increase the likelihood of symptoms by 8-11%, according to the CDC, it is safe to do so. 


Soumya Sathyanarayana can be reached at [email protected]

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