Getting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time can result in severe illness. The best protection for yourself and those around you is to get your flu and COVID-19 vaccines.
The flu and COVID-19 vaccines are offered for free to people most at risk of getting seriously ill or who are most likely to pass the viruses on to other people at risk. It is important that you get vaccinated as soon as possible to give yourself the best possible protection during the winter months.
All flu and COVID-19 vaccines offered by the NHS have a good safety record. They have been tested on thousands of people across the world and have met the strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness outlined by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). More information about the COVID-19 vaccine can be found here.
Can I get the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?
Yes, you can get your flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time. There is no additional risk of getting the vaccines at the same time. If you choose to do this, you will usually get each vaccine in a different arm.
Will the flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19?
The flu vaccine won’t protect you against COVID-19, but it will help protect you against the flu.Flu is an unpleasant and potentially serious infection that can cause complications leading to hospital admission, permanent disability, or death. Helping to protect against the flu is particularly important because people vulnerable to COVID-19 are also at risk of complications from the flu.
Is flu related to COVID-19?
Flu and COVID-19 are both viruses that affect the respiratory system. They spread from person to person through droplets in the air and on hard surfaces. In both cases, it is possible to have the infection without having any symptoms. People in certain groups are at greater risk of complications from these viruses.
If I get flu, can I still get COVID-19?
Yes. The infections are caused by different viruses. So just because you get one, doesn’t mean you can’t get the other. There have been cases of people getting both at the same time.
How do I know if I have flu or COVID-19?
Flu and COVID-19 can present with similar symptoms and the only way to be sure that you don’t have COVID-19 is to do a COVID-19 test (available at most pharmacies and supermarkets). If you think you have COVID-19 you are advised to stay home and isolate so please ask someone else to purchase a COVID-19 test for you if possible. More guidance is available on the NHS website
I’ve had COVID-19. Is it safe for me to have the flu vaccine?
There is no reason or evidence that it would be unsafe for those who have had COVID-19 infection to receive the flu vaccine, or that the flu vaccine would be less effective for these individuals. It is important to note that individuals who have had COVID-19 and who are in the age groups and risk categories for whom flu vaccine is recommended are particularly vulnerable to the complications of flu, and therefore helping to protect them through vaccination, is essential this season.
Does the flu vaccine make COVID-19 symptoms worse?
No. If you get COVID-19 and you have had a flu vaccination, your COVID-19 symptoms won’t be any worse. People vulnerable to COVID-19 are also at risk of complications from the flu, which means that having the flu vaccine is important to protect your health.
Is there anything else I can do to protect myself?
We have all become much more aware of how viruses spread and the measures we can take to prevent infection. Flu spreads in a similar way to COVID-19, you can stop the spread of both viruses by:
washing your hands frequently
covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue
throwing tissues away in the bin
using hand sanitiser if you don’t have access to soap and water