Question & Answer

Does the flu vaccine increase the risk of contracting COVID-19?

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  • Influenza (flu) is a very infectious illness caused by the flu virus. Flu spreads easily and infects both children and adults. The flu vaccine offers the best protection against influenza
  • Claims have been circulated on social media that getting the flu vaccine increases your risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • There is no evidence to suggest a link between the flu vaccine and an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • A single study, discredited by later studies, drew media attention, when it reported varying results for how a non-flu respiratory virus, affected individuals who had received the flu vaccination. When researchers re-examined data from the study it was found that the flu vaccination did not increase risk for infection with other respiratory viruses, including seasonal coronaviruses.
  • Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the severity of illness from the flu, as well as possible complications of the flu, hospitalisation and admission to intensive care units. Getting the flu vaccine can help to reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The vaccine is available every year to adults and children at risk of flu and its complications. As children are more likely than adults to get severe complications of flu, the HSE recommend that all children aged 2 to 12 should get the nasal flu vaccine, which is delivered painlessly into the nose.
  • If you are in an at-risk group, you should get the flu vaccine as early into the flu season as you can. The full list of people who are recommended to get the vaccine can be seen here.
  • To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, please continue to follow public health advice to maintain social distancing and wash your hands properly and often.

Things to Remember

Reviewers

  • Lead Researcher: Dr Eimear Morrissey, School of Medicine and School of Psychology, NUI Galway.
  • Reviewed by: Elaine Finucane, HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network, School of nursing and Midwifery, NUI Galway.
  • Evidence Advisor: Prof Dearbháile Morris School of Medicine, and Centre for One Health, NUI Galway.
  • Evidence Advisor: Deirdre Mc Loughlin, PPI Ignite, NUI Galway.
  • Journalist Advisor: Dr Claire O’Connell, Contributor, The Irish Times.