It IS safe to get Covid and flu vaccines at the same time: Scientists say people given two jabs in one-go still produce a strong immune response
It is safe to get the Covid and flu vaccines in each arm at the same time, a study has found.
Research of 700 Britons revealed giving both injections in one visit raised no safety concerns and still produced a strong immune response.
Half of the volunteers were given both injections at the same time, while the others were given the doses separately three weeks apart.
Co-administering the vaccines at the same time only caused ‘mild to moderate’ side effects, researchers said.
Ministers have already said millions of Britons can get the flu jab at the same time as their Covid booster.
More than 32million people are eligible for a third dose in the coming months — but only six months after their second.
The NHS says most people who can get a booster are also eligible for the annual flu vaccine.
Getting two or more jabs at once is already fairly standard practice throughout the NHS, especially in babies and people travelling to certain destinations.
And people in their 70s are eligible for a one-off shingles vaccine, given alongside the flu jab.
But experts have to test new combinations of vaccines, in case they become less effective when given together or severe side effects.
Research of 700 Britons revealed giving both injections in one visit raised no safety concerns and still produced a strong immune response
The ComFluCOV study aimed to determine whether it was safe to give both jabs at once and whether there were any side effects.
Between April and June, they gave second Covid jabs and one of three flu vaccines to 679 adults from 10 NHS sites across England and Wales who had already received their first dose of Pfizer or AstraZeneca.
The first group of 340 people received their second Covid dose and flu jab at the same time.
Three weeks later, they were given a saline placebo injection.
Number of Britons falling ill with Covid every day rises by 30% in a week to nearly 60,000
The number of Britons catching Covid every day rose almost 30 per cent last week, amid fears a fourth wave of infections is just around the corner.
King’s College London scientists estimated 58,126 people were getting infected every day in the week ending September 25, up 28.9 per cent from the previous seven day spell.
Cases have soared in children ever since millions of youngsters returned to classrooms following the summer holidays. But now infections appear to be spilling over into their parents, a trend MailOnline revealed earlier this week.
Professor Tim Spector, who leads the study, said cases were now being passed up the ‘generational ladder’. He warned families to be careful at this ‘critical time’ because a ‘little caution’ could stop hospitals being overrun in the face of another surge this winter.
It came as separate Test and Trace figures today showed England’s infections rose 18 per cent in the latest week. There were more than 190.000 positive test results recorded in the week to September 22, they said.
And Public Health England’s weekly surveillance report revealed Covid cases rose in eight in ten local authorities across England last week.
Despite a raft of data showing Britain’s coronavirus outbreak is still growing, the number of people testing positive shrunk today for the first time in nearly a fortnight. Department of Health statistics showed another 36,480 cases were recorded, down 0.6 per cent compared to the same time last week. They had risen week-on-week for the previous 12 days.
The remaining 339 participants were given their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine and a saline injection at their first visit and a flu jab at their second visit.
The researchers, led by a team at the University of Bristol, monitored the patients for six weeks.
The results were published as a pre-print, meaning they have yet to be scrutinised by fellow scientists.
People may have their flu and booster jabs on the same day if their GP surgery, clinic or pharmacy has sufficient supply of both, or may still have them on separate days if both injections are not available.
‘Apart from the convenience (and the cost to the NHS/providers), there is no medical or immunological reason to go out of your way to get the vaccines at the same time,’ the researchers said.
Dr Peter English, former chair of the BMA Public Health Medicine Committee who was not involved in the study, said the logistics of vaccination a large number of people against the flu and Covid would be ‘greatly simplified’ if the jabs are given simultaneously.
This is because co-administration is ‘much simpler, more convenient for the patient and cheaper for healthcare providers’, he noted.
Dr English said: ‘I cannot think of any examples where co-administration of vaccines is in any way unsafe (compared to administering them separately); and it is extremely unusual for co-administration to interfere with vaccine effectiveness.
‘We would not expect any problems to arise from co administration of flu and Covid vaccines.
‘But it is wise and precautionary to check for possible problems in clinical trials before authorising or recommending widespread co-administration. This study does just that.’
However, he noted that getting both jabs at once might not be as necessary as previously thought.
A large proportion of the population is already double-jabbed and ‘by the time we gear up to being able to co-administer the two vaccines, it is not clear that we will need to vaccinate any more people against Covid’, Dr English said.
But this might change in the future if further doses of Covid vaccines – boosters of current vaccines or newer vaccines tailored to prevent variants – are found to be beneficial, he said.
If this is the case, then co-administration ‘might be very valuable’, he added.