Question & Answer

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

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  • Claims have been circulated on social media that getting the flu vaccine increases your risk of getting COVID-19.
  • 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.
  • Some recent systematic summaries of studies suggest that influenza vaccination may help decrease the risk of getting COVID-19 infection; however, more studies are needed before we can be sure this is the case.
  • There is no evidence that the flu vaccine increases the risk of getting COVID-19.
  • The Health Service Executive (HSE)and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that there is no evidence that getting a flu vaccination raises the risk of getting infected by COVID-19 or by any other coronavirus.
  • In their joint statement, which was released on 12 October 2022, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and the European Commission advised at-risk groups such as healthcare workers, people over 60 years old, pregnant women and people with multiple chronic conditions and/or underlying conditions to get vaccinated against both influenza and COVID-19. The potential that  COVID-19 and seasonal influenza will circulate together could put vulnerable people at increased risk of severe illness and death.
  • 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 flu complications, the HSE recommends that all children aged 2 to 12 should get the nasal flu vaccine, which is delivered painlessly as a spray into the nose.
  • If you are in an at-risk group, the HSE recommend that you get the flu vaccine as early into the flu season as you can. It’s available from October to April each year. The full list of people who are recommended to get the vaccine can be seen here.

Things to Remember


  • Lead Researcher: Dr. Petek Eylül Taneri, MD, PhD, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Galway
  • Reviewed by: Prof. Declan Devane, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Galway.
  • Evidence Advisor: Prof Dearbháile Morris School of Medicine, and Centre for One Health, University of Galway.
  • Evidence Advisor: Deirdre Mac Loughlin, PPI Ignite, University of Galway.
  • Journalist Advisor: Dr Claire O’Connell, Contributor, The Irish Times.

Conflict of Interest Statement: The authors have no financial or other conflicts of interest for this health claim summary.