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Public Health offers reassurance for Northamptonshire residents – COVID-19 and Flu vaccines safe to be administered together

Community, safety and emergencies

02 December 2021

A woman receiving a Covid vaccination

Public Health Northamptonshire is reassuring Northamptonshire residents worried about getting both Covid-19 and flu vaccines at the same appointment that it’s safe to do so. 

The ask is please complete your Covid-19 vaccine course, including a booster (or third dose if immunocompromised) but also prioritise getting your Flu jab, as both are vitally important this year. Please don’t delay if you’re eligible.

This is because there is more likely to be a surge of respiratory viruses, including cold and flu (influenza), because our population had limited exposure to these viruses last winter.

Northamptonshire is currently seeing lower than normal flu vaccine uptake for the time of year, increasing concerns that predicted higher incidences of influenza over the winter months could put increased pressures on the NHS and cause otherwise preventable deaths.  

A modelling of a reasonable worst-case scenario from the Academy of Medical Sciences found that we could be dealing with around twice the levels of influenza, causing widespread ill health. It also sadly suggests that between 15,000 and 60,000 people could die from influenza this Winter, with the planned widespread flu vaccination helping reduce this risk. 

For those who are putting off getting vaccinated due to worries about having both vaccines at the same time there is clear reassurance from the ComFluCOV vaccine study. This looked at the safety, as well as the immune responses, when giving currently approved Covid-19 vaccines at the same time as the recommended influenza (flu) vaccines from the 2020/21 flu season programme. 

The trial showed that co-administration of the flu and Covid-19 vaccines is generally well tolerated with no reduction in immune response to either vaccine so can be given together safely where it’s practical to do so.  

The ComFluCOV trial included people who were pregnant, had severe uncontrolled medical problems, were immunocompromised, or aged 65 or over, so was representative of the population most likely to receive both flu and Covid vaccines. No significant difference in immune response or side effects were found in these groups. 

Dr Annapurna Sen, Consultant in Public Health for Northamptonshire says: “The flu vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine offered every year on the NHS to help protect people at risk of flu and its complications. It is really important individuals receive their seasonal flu vaccines as soon as they are eligible.  

“Giving the Covid-19 vaccine with flu jabs at the same time is safe so your Covid-19 vaccine dose should not delay you receiving the flu vaccine. I urge our population who are offered the Covid -19 and flu vaccination together to accept and receive it. 

“If you’re already up to date with your Covid-19 vaccines and are eligible but yet to have your Flu jab, please do book in for it as soon as possible.”

Chris Pallot, Director of Northamptonshire’s Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, reinforced the message: 
“To clarify, it is perfectly safe to have your Covid-19 booster and flu vaccine at the same time, so there’s no need to delay getting one or the other. Please get the protection you need this winter as soon as you can and keep yourself and those around you safe.”

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