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Your Covid-19 questions answered

Is it safe to get the Covid-19 and flu vaccine at the same time?

30 March 2022 - 07:02
The NICD has allayed fears about getting both the Covid-19 and flu vaccines.
The NICD has allayed fears about getting both the Covid-19 and flu vaccines.
Image: Waldo Swiegers

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says there are no safety concerns related to getting both the flu and Covid-19 vaccines, provided they are taken 14 days apart.

It is important to take the flu vaccine to protect oneself from influenza, thereby reducing the burden on the health system. The flu vaccine and Covid-19 vaccine should be given at least 14 days apart.

“There is no particular requirement regarding the order of receiving the influenza and Covid-19 vaccine. If both vaccines are available at the same time and an individual is eligible for both, it is recommended to prioritise the Covid-19 vaccine,” the NICD said.

Dr Morgan Mkhatshwa, head of operations at Bonitas Medical Fund, said vaccines are vital for strengthening the immune system and enabling it to fight viruses. 

“The flu virus changes every year. This means last year’s vaccine will not keep you safe this year. The vaccine helps your immune system fight off the virus by producing antibodies, which are the soldiers in your body that fight the flu virus,” he said. 

Lisa Giltrow, senior pharmacist at Medirite, a pharmacy chain located in Checkers and Shoprite stores, told TimesLIVE the company saw an increase of 17% in flu vaccines administered in 2021 and expects sustained interest this year. 

She said while everyone is at risk of infection, some groups were at a higher risk than others. 

“The elderly, pregnant women, children, those with chronic conditions  and healthcare workers are at increased risk of contracting or being severely affected by flu,” said Giltrow. 

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