Is it possible to combine the COVID and flu vaccines into one shot?

Blue-gloved hands working with vaccines; eventually, the COVID and flu vaccines could be combined
Photo via Stockphotokun/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Multiple pharmaceutical companies are exploring the possibility of combining the seasonal flu shot with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Receiving multiple shots at once has several advantages, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Namely, people seeking shots can schedule a single appointment, receive a single shot, and leave with several inoculations at once. The CDC website states that “getting several vaccines at the same time does not cause any chronic health problems.” When children are receiving standard childhood vaccinations, the center recommends getting them in tandem.

The same may eventually be possible for the COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot. Maryland-based vaccine maker Novavax’s president of research and development, Gregory Glenn, told the Washington Post that combining the two shots “really makes sense.”

The two-in-one shot may not be available by the 2021-22 flu season, but multiple companies are currently exploring the possibility. Moderna’s chief executive, Stephane Bancel, noted that the company is currently looking into a dual COVID-19/flu vaccine but that it likely won’t be completed for several years. 

Several shots already exist that combine multiple vaccines. The most widely used, the MMR vaccine, combines vaccinations against measles, rubella, and mumps viruses to inoculate children at one time. The same is often done with the DTaP vaccine—which combines immunization against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.

Before a combination COVID-19 and flu vaccination could hit the market, it would need to pass the same safety and efficacy evaluation all vaccines require through the Food and Drug Administration. 

Two companies are already in the process of developing a combined shot. Vaxess Technologies, combined with pharmaceutical company Medigen Vaccine Biologics, is already working to create a combination COVID-19 and influenza vaccine, according to Precision Vaccinations

Read more on the coronavirus vaccines:

Sources: CDC, Precision Vaccinations, Washington Post

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