For those people who have already started receiving the COVID-19 vaccine or plan to in the coming months, Purvi Parikh, MD, an immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network, says you should not get other vaccines — like the flu, pneumonia, or shingles shots — soon after or beforehand. Here's what you need to know.
Dr. Parikh, who is also a co-investigator on COVID-19 vaccine trials at NYU, told POPSUGAR that there are still unknowns when it comes to following COVID-19 vaccines with other shots or vice versa, following other shots with the COVID-19 vaccine. In COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, she said that people were told to separate any other vaccines by four weeks. The current recommendation, she said, is spacing them out by at least two weeks. And the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention states that if someone receives the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within 14 days of another shot, that person does not need to restart (meaning, they don't have to redo the first dose; they can continue with the second on schedule).
"Let's say you got the pneumonia shot or the shingles shot today, then we would say wait two weeks to get the COVID-19 shot," Dr. Parikh noted. This is simply for precautionary measures, and she did add that more research may reveal it's fine to get different vaccines in the same week or, she said, even the same day. "In general though, we always recommend at least for adults to do vaccines on separate days, because let's say you do have a reaction, then you won't know what vaccine caused it," she explained.
COVID-19 vaccines have not yet been authorized by the FDA for use in children, but it's worth noting that children generally get vaccines close together because childhood vaccines have been around for decades, Dr. Parikh said. Additionally, the doctor revealed she gives certain vaccines on the same day in her own office, such as the pneumonia and flu shots, since those have also existed for a long time and we are confident they can be administered safely.
"The vaccines that we've been using for 30, 40-plus years, we already know that they can be given on the same day or same week without any issue," Dr. Parikh noted. "But it's just that this [COVID-19] vaccine is brand new, so we don't know." She did say, though, that in a year, doctors might be giving it the same day or week as, for example, the flu shot.
It's also worth mentioning the CDC warns that if you have a history of immediate allergic reactions to any other type of vaccine, you should first talk to your doctor before getting a vaccine for COVID-19. Dr. Parikh agreed. The two-dose COVID-19 vaccines currently available may not have the same ingredients as a vaccine people exhibited an allergic reaction to in the past — many vaccines, she said, have differing ingredients — however, it's better to talk to your healthcare provider to be safe. "Just because you reacted to another vaccine, doesn't mean you'll have a problem with the COVID-19 vaccine," she added. "It's just an extra step of precaution."
POPSUGAR aims to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information about the coronavirus, but details and recommendations about this pandemic may have changed since publication. For the latest information on COVID-19, please check out resources from the WHO, CDC, and local public health departments.