With temperatures dropping and Winter soon upon us, we will no doubt see the flu circulating within our community. In fact, with flu cases significantly down over the last two years – largely due to COVID-19 restrictions – there are increased concerns that we’re in for a tough flu season. So, is it worth getting the flu vaccination while COVID is still circulating? Will your COVID-19 vaccination protect you from the flu? Here’s everything you need to know.
What is the difference between COVID-19 and influenza?
COVID-19 and Influenza are both contagious respiratory illnesses, however, they belong to different virus strains. As their names suggest, COVID-19 derives from Coronavirus, whereas the flu comes from the Influenza virus. While we are told that COVID-19 symptoms are ‘much like the flu’ – a cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, headache and fatigue – there are a few differences to be aware of:
- Research suggests COVID-19 spreads more easily than the flu as it appears to have more superspreading ‘events’. That is, the virus quickly and easily spreads to multiple people and continually spreads over time.
- Studies also show that with COVID-19, you can remain contagious for longer. Most people with the flu are contagious one day before their symptoms begin. While more is still being studied with COVID-19, studies suggest people are contagious two to three days before symptoms begin.
- COVID-19 also has the potential to cause more serious illness to some people who contract it. Serious illness from COVID-19 can result in hospitalisation and death and can occur even in healthy people. People with COVID-19 can also experience what has been coined ‘long-covid’, where symptoms stay with them for long periods of time..
Does my COVID-19 vaccination protect me from influenza?
Put simply, no. As mentioned above, COVID-19 and Influenza belong to different virus strains, so one vaccination won’t protect you from the other. That’s why it is so important to get your flu vaccination before the flu season starts. The most effective way to protect yourself against both viruses is to get vaccinated for both. It’s also a good idea to continue to follow prevention methods, such as social distancing, wearing a mask if it’s not possible to keep your distance, avoid busy places (particularly places which don’t have good ventilation), and washing your hands often.
Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine at the same time?
This Flu season we will conducting separate clinics for COVID-19 vaccines and the influenza vaccine. These clinics will be run on various days and various times to accommodate all our patients. Please call 66541282 fro an appointments.
Can you get the COVID-19 vaccine if you have a cold?
If you have cold/flu symptoms shortly before or on the day of your vaccination, it is best to wait until you are fully recovered.
What should I do if I have Flu / COVID-19 symptoms?
Regardless of whether you have the flu or COVID-19, you should stay at home if you’re unwell. Given the symptoms of both viruses are similar, the only way to determine if you have COVID-19 or simply a cold / flu is through testing, so it’s advised that you do a Rapid Antigen Test or a PCR at your nearest available location.
Beach St Family Practice has COVID-19 and Flu vaccinations ready to go and we welcome both new and existing clients. Just a reminder that before you get either vaccination, make sure you advise your doctor if you or your child are unwell (have a temperature over 38.5 degrees), have had a reaction to a vaccine in the past or have other severe allergies.