ComFluCOV study suggests that giving COVID-19 and flu jabs at the same time is free from harm 

Vaccine being administered to older man tirachard

Concomitant vaccination for influenza and COVID-19 is safe, according to preprint research from the ComFluCOV study.

A study led by the University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust supports giving COVID-19 booster doses alongside the seasonal flu programme. Researchers concluded that giving influenza and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time did not raise safety concerns, and the immune response to both vaccines was preserved.

Side effects were reported for some combinations but were found to be mainly mild to moderate, including fatigue, apart from one hospitalisation with severe headache related to the trial.

Study details

The trial involved 679 participants across 12 sites who had received a first dose of the AstraZeneca–Oxford University or the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. When they received their second dose, they were randomised to also receive one of three different flu jabs or placebo in the other arm (or thigh in some cases); 3 weeks later the initial placebo group had a flu jab, and the flu jabs groups had a placebo. Side effects were reported for the six possible combinations through electronic diaries.

The authors concluded: ‘Concomitant vaccination with both COVID-19 and influenza vaccines over the next immunisation season should reduce the burden on the healthcare services for vaccine delivery, allowing for timely vaccine administration and protection from COVID-19 and influenza for those in need.’

Wise and precautionary checks

The study received Department of Health and Social Care and National Institute for Health Research funding.

Commenting via the Science Media Centre, Dr Peter English, retired consultant in communicable disease control, said: ‘We would not expect any problems to arise from coadministration of flu and COVID-19 vaccines; but it is wise and precautionary to check for possible problems in clinical trials before authorising or recommending widespread coadministration. This study does just that.

Another commenter, Professor Penny Ward, independent pharmaceutical physician, visiting professor in pharmaceutical medicine, King’s College London, said the study helped to answer a question she’d been asking herself.

‘It’s not often that a publication is directly relevant to one’s own health decision making. Being a lady of mature years, I have just received my invitation for the annual influenza vaccination, but the set date is a month or so prior to the earliest date I would be called for a COVID vaccine booster. What to do—wait and have them both together or take one then t’other?’

She continued: ‘I think I can be confident that I can go ahead with my flu shot while waiting to be called up for the COVID vaccine booster. Thanks to the ComCov study team for getting this out into the public domain so I could answer my own question without needing to bother the local GP. Let’s get this out on the airwaves so other members of the public with the same dilemma can be similarly reassured.’

This article originally appeared on Medscape, part of the Medscape Professional Network

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