Guest Opinion | Doctor is In: Get the influenza and COVID-19 vaccine

As we come up on year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to receive the flu and COVID-19 vaccines to keep yourself and your loved ones protected from both viruses.


Chris Kalous

CVS Pharmacy advertises flu shots on Sept. 24, 2018.

For nearly two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has been at the center of everyone’s lives. With COVID-19 taking up most of the spotlight, it can be easy to forget that the flu season is upon us.

Considering the recent approval for COVID-19 booster vaccines, it is still important to receive your yearly flu vaccine. There have been some misconceptions circulating the web regarding the safety of taking these two vaccines together. The short answer is both vaccines are safe to take together, but we hope this article will clear this up.

Do I need a flu shot this year?

Yes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends receiving a flu shot this year. Last year showed historically low transmission for influenza around the world. Individuals were less likely to get sick with the flu due to social distancing, wearing masks, increased hand washing, and heightened awareness of sanitizing commonly touched surfaces.

Despite these favorable trends last year, the CDC reported that the number of detections of influenza virus reported by public health laboratories has increased in recent weeks. Peak flu season is usually between December and February. Receiving the flu vaccine before then will ensure that you can protect yourself and those around you from severe illness.

Can I get my flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time?

Yes, the CDC recently gave the green light for people to take the flu vaccine along with the COVID-19 vaccine at the same visit. When the COVID-19 vaccine was first distributed, officials recommended that the shot be separated from other vaccines by two weeks.

However, the CDC now has enough experience with the COVID-19 vaccine to show that it is safe to give together with the flu vaccine. It has been shown that the immunity that our bodies generate are similar when vaccines are given with other vaccines versus when given alone.

If you are to receive both vaccines on the same day, the CDC encourages that they be given in different arms to prevent excess muscle soreness in any one limb.

Where can I get my flu and COVID-19 shots at?

There are several places to receive the flu and COVID-19 vaccines. Your local pharmacy is a convenient option for anyone wanting to receive these vaccines. Make sure you call the pharmacy and ask them what vaccines they have available and if they are taking walk-ins or appointments.

In addition, UI student health is offering flu vaccines at the main Westlawn clinic and at the Iowa Memorial Union. Students can walk into the IMU Nurse care clinic in the lower level IMU (by Java House) without an appointment to get their flu vaccine.

Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. The clinic is closed 1- 1:30 p.m. daily. Another option is to call 319-335-8394 to schedule a vaccine appointment in the main clinic at Westlawn, or call your doctor’s office for potential vaccine appointment dates.

It takes 14 days for full immunity to develop from a flu vaccine so before traveling for winter break, consider receiving both your influenza and COVID-19 vaccines. This will ensure that you and your family can remain protected and have a safe holiday season.

-Tyler Wempen, Fourth-year University of Iowa Pharmacy Student, Class of 2022

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