The flu vaccination season and COVID-19 vaccine rollout are set to coincide this year.
Both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines need two doses to maximise their effectiveness.
That’s a total of 3 vaccinations per person per year for those electing to vaccinate against both influenza and COVID-19.
Multiple patients have asked us questions such as “Which shot should I get first?” or “How long do I need to wait between each shot?” or “Does one vaccine make the other less effective?”.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) released its vaccination guidelines earlier this month. They provide some clarity regarding the scheduling and administration of influenza and COVID-19 vaccines this year.
The ATAGI’s clinical advice can be summarised into the following points:
- Routine scheduling and giving of an influenza vaccine with a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day is not recommended.
- The preferred minimum interval between a dose of seasonal influenza vaccine and a dose of BNT162b2 (Pfizer/BioNTech) or ChAdOx1-S (AstraZeneca/University of Oxford) is 14 days.
- There is no particular requirement regarding the order of receiving a dose of influenza vaccine and either the first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- If an influenza vaccine has been inadvertently co-administered or given within a shorter interval than 14 days with a COVID-19 vaccine, revaccination with either vaccine is not considered necessary.
The ATAGI also states that:
“This is based on the lack of direct data demonstrating absence of any safety issues or interference of immune responses after co-administration of influenza and COVID-19 vaccines. As further information becomes available, this recommendation may change to permit routine co-administration.”ATAGI – Advice on the relative timing of administering influenza and
COVID-19 vaccines in 2021