Your Covid-19 questions answered

Can you prevent Covid-19 with the flu shot?

22 July 2021 - 07:03 By unathi nkanjeni
So can you prevent Covi-19 with a simple flu shot? The answer is no. File photo
So can you prevent Covi-19 with a simple flu shot? The answer is no. File photo
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

While Covid-19 and flu can cause similar symptoms, they are two different viruses.

According to Discovery Health, it is possible to be exposed to both viruses and then develop one or both of the illnesses.

So can you prevent Covid-19 with a simple flu shot?

The answer is no. 

“The flu vaccination provides protection for the strain of flu that is expected in each year's flu season. It will not protect you against Covid-19. Only vaccines created for Covid-19 will be effective at protecting individuals from Covid-19,” said Discovery. 

Should you get a flu vaccine or wait for the Covid-19 vaccine?

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) recommends that people receive a flu vaccination ahead of influenza season this year. 

The NICD said the flu vaccine may also help to decrease the burden on the healthcare system.

“The influenza vaccine will protect you against influenza and the Covid-19 vaccine will protect you against Covid-19. A minimum of a 14-day waiting period between the 2 vaccines is recommended,” said NICD. 

“If a person becomes unwell with any kind of viral infection, their immune systems typically become weakened for a while. This makes a person even more susceptible to any other infectious condition that may be prevalent at the time,” said Discovery. 

“By protecting yourself against one contagious infection, the flu, you should be able to reduce your level of risk somewhat against the other.”