Questions and Answers about flu shots, additional COVID-19 shots, and COVID-19 booster shots
If you haven’t received your flu shot yet, you should try to do so as soon as you're able. Many people are still getting sick with COVID-19. It’s important to protect yourself against the flu virus. If you're a Veteran enrolled in VA health care, you should find a facility near you to get a free flu shot; it’s your best protection against the flu and complications from the flu including serious disease, hospitalization, and death.
Can I get an additional COVID-19 shot or a COVID-19 booster shot at a VA facility?
Do you need a Covid-19 booster or an additional dose of the Covid-19 vaccine? There is a difference between additional shots and booster shots. You may have questions about whether you need another shot. The VA has adopted some guidelines for you to consider:
The VA follows the CDC’s guidance on COVID-19 booster shots and additional doses. The VA is currently offering booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to people who received a 2-dose initial vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago, based on current authorizations. (As the Federal Drug Administration and the CDC offer more recommendations, this may change. Check with your health care team to learn more.)
The CDC recommends that some people get a booster dose 6 or more months after they’ve had their second Pfizer-BioNTech dose. The following groups are recommended to get a booster shot:
- People with weakened immune systems
- People who are 65 years old or older
- People who live in long-term care facilities
- People who are 50-64 and have an underlying condition
- You may also choose to get a dose if you are under 65 and work in a setting that may have high transmission risks, or you have underlying conditions.
- Select people with immune compromise (weakened immune system) should get an additional dose of vaccine 28 or more days after their initial vaccine series if they had either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. This is also offered in VA. If you are not sure if you have moderate to severe immune compromise, you should discuss it with your provider to see whether you need this.
If you have not yet received any COVID-19 shots yet, VA is still offering and encouraging Veterans to get vaccinated. It’s your best protection against COVID-19!
Should I get the flu and COVID-19 shots together?
You can get a COVID-19 shot and a flu vaccine at the same time. In the past, you may have heard that you should wait between a COVID-19 shot and other vaccines. That was recommended out of caution. But now the CDC is confident there's no reason COVID-19 vaccines need to be treated differently than any other vaccine. If you have concerns, you can contact your health care team.
What will side effects be like if I get both shots at once?
If you decide to get a COVID-19 shot and a flu shot at the same time, the side effects will likely be the same as if you had gotten them separately. Other vaccines have shown that the way our bodies develop protection after vaccines is usually the same with or without other vaccines. If you usually have side effects from the flu shot or the COVID-19 shot, expect to have those effects again.
Can I get flu shot and COVID-19 shot separately?
It's still okay to get your COVID-19 shot and flu shot separately. However, you shouldn't delay getting your flu shot.