Can Influenza Vaccine Protect You From COVID-19? Find Out

No, Influenza or flu vaccine can’t protect you from COVID-19.  Is it safe to take both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time?

With the COVID-19 pandemic not likely to end anytime soon, it is more important than ever to protect yourself against flu as summer sets in. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also reminded that it is more important than ever to protect yourself against influenza and that getting the flu shot can help reduce your risk for flu.

The organisation especially recommends people aged 60 or older, health workers and pregnant women to get the flu shot as they are at higher risk of severe flu.

“Influenza vaccination given during pregnancy protects both you and your baby for several months after birth,” it said.


Flu symptoms you should watch out for

The UN agency advises people to seek immediate medical care if they experience any of these symptoms:

  • Fever or cough that improves but then returns and worsens
  • Loss of speech or mobility
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Seizures
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Not urinating
  • Decreased or no movement of your baby

Can Influenza Vaccine Protect You From COVID-19? Find Out

The WHO reiterated that getting a flu shot doesn’t protect people from COVID-19. To prevent coronavirus infections, the agency recommends high risk people, including expecting mothers, to take these precautions:

  • Clean your hands frequently
  • Keep at least 1 metre distance from others
  • Wear a mask when 1 metre distance from others is not possible
  • Cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or a tissue
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Avoid crowded public gatherings or activities
  • Open window

Protect children from flu

If your child is below 5, ask your doctor whether a flu vaccine is right for him or her. Because WHO has cautioned that children under 5 years old are at greater risk of severe disease or complications following infection with influenza, such as hospitalization and, more rarely, death.

Flu symptoms in children: If you child develop any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical help:

  • High fever
  • Rapid breathing
  • Blue lips
  • Chest pain
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Not interacting not awake
  • Unable to drink or breastfeed
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures

How would you know if you have the flu or COVID-19?

Flu season has started in many parts of the world, and the coronavirus pandemic is not over yet. So, how would you know if you have the flu or COVID-19.

According to Dr. Sylvie Briand, Director, WHO Infectious Hazard Management, fever, headache, sneezing and coughing are common symptoms of flu. While these symptoms are also seen in COVID-19, there are some specific symptoms linked to coronavirus infection such as anosmia (lack of smell) and ageusia (lack of taste). Many young people are experiencing these additional COVID-specific symptoms.

“But sometimes people experience very few symptoms, whether flu or COVID, depending on the level of immunity. What is common about both of these diseases is that prevention measures work for both of them specially washing hands, ventilation of rooms, wearing mask, and maintaining physical distancing,” Dr. Briand told Vismitha Gupta-Smith, WHO communications, during ScienceIn5.

Elder people, and those with underlying health conditions such as chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disease, are at greater risk for COVID-19 and flu infections. For flu, children and pregnant are also at higher risk for severe disease.

Is it safe to take both flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine if these are available to you? “Yes, we have a few studies that show that it is safe to take both flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time. But people need to check with their physician before taking these vaccines,” Dr. Briand said.

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