Can You Get Both The Shingles And Flu Shot At The Same Time?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses getting the flu and shingles shot at the same time.

Can You Get Both The Shingles And Flu Shot At The Same Time?
Sep 14, 2020

Jen asked

What do you do if a patient got a shingles shot two days ago and now wants a flu shot? Is this okay does there need to be a longer wait?

At a glance

  • The most common vaccine is Shingrix, a recombinant vaccine.
  • There are a few different types of a flu shot, but they are either an inactivated or recombinant vaccine.
  • It is safe to get your flu shot at the same time or at any time after your shingles vaccine. It won’t be any less effective.

Answer

Hi Jen and thanks for reaching out to us. The 2019-2020 “flu season” was quite widespread. In the United states, it’s estimated that influenza spread to 39-56 million people, leading to 740,000 hospitalizations and 62,000 deaths. It would have been a much more mild year if every eligible adult received an influenza vaccination.

I think that it’s especially important to get vaccinated this year. This upcoming flu season could be very bad if both influenza and COVID-19 are widely circulating, so it’s important that everyone who is able to be vaccinated does so.

So, let's talk about both of the vaccines in question here.

The shingles vaccine is Shingrix, a recombinant vaccine (there's one older formulation that's less effective and rarely used). A recombinant vaccine is usually made by inserting DNA onto the surface of a virus or bacterial protein structure, allowing your body to create an immune response.

The flu vaccine is made in a few different ways. There is a recombinant flu vaccine as well as an inactivated vaccine. Inactivated vaccines are weakened flu viruses grown in eggs, then killed and purified. Both types of vaccines produce a similar immune response, and are only fragments of the actual influenza virus - they cannot give you the flu.

The good news that you don’t have to wait any period of time between your shingles vaccine and flu shot. They are safe to be given at the same time or with any spacing in between, and you will get the same immune response. You can get your flu vaccine today if you’d like to!

In general, only live vaccines need to be separated apart from each other if not given at the same time, but there are exceptions, so please continue to double check before you get any new vaccines.

I hope this helps. Feel free to write us in the future with any additional questions!

  • Frequently Asked Influenza (Flu) Questions, CDC
  • 2019-2020 U.S. flu season: preliminary burden estimates., CDC
  • How Influenza (Flu) Vaccines Are Made, CDC
  • Timing and Spacing of Immunobiologics, ACIP

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