Lung health expert urges public to take flu jab amid vaccine confusion - Institute for Respiratory Health

Lung health expert urges public to take flu jab amid vaccine confusion

Friday, May 21, 2021 | News

Lung disease expert, Associate Professor Yuben Moodley, Deputy Director of the Institute for Respiratory Health said he’s receiving increased enquiries from Perth locals concerned about the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccine if taken in conjunction with the flu shot.

“Several patients with chronic lung disease are asking whether they should have their flu shot this flu season because they’re worried it will reduce the impact of the coronavirus vaccine,” said Associate Professor Moodley.

“The simple reality is it’s perfectly safe as long as both vaccines are taken at least 14 days apart. So you could have your flu shot first, wait 14 days and then take the coronavirus vaccine, or visa versa – as long as they’re not taken together.

“The reason for the 14-day wait is just precautionary in case people experience common side effects from one vaccine, they’ll know which one it was.

“There’s a vaccine under development by Novavax, an American vaccine manufacturing company, who are talking about making a combined flu shot and coronavirus vaccine but it doesn’t exist right now and will take a few years to develop.

“In the meantime, it’s really important that people get their flu shot this year, particularly if they have a long-term health condition, including lung conditions like asthma, or if they’re 65 and older.

“These at-risk groups are more likely to have serious complications from catching the flu. It’s important that they’re protected by getting the flu shot. It will not only shield them against catching the flu but spreading the flu to others.

“People forget that the flu is highly contagious so it’s important to minimise your own risk and look after your health, even in a situation where behaviours like wearing masks and social distancing has helped to stop the spread of the bug,” Associate Professor Moodley said.

He also highlighted the risk of catching the flu and the coronavirus at the same time, particularly if not vaccinated against either. This could be deadly, particularly for high risk people.