With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the top priority on every person’s mind is to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, many people are concerned, and rightfully so, about the impact of this new vaccination on their vaccination schedule. This is exceptionally true for older adults who may have had their shingles vaccination scheduled, only to be suddenly disrupted by introducing the COVID-19 vaccine. Should one prioritize getting a COVID-19 vaccine over getting vaccinated for other diseases? Is it possible to take both the COVID-19 vaccine and the shingles vaccine? This article will address these questions, so read on to find out more!
Should One Prioritize Getting a Covid-19 Vaccine over Getting Vaccinated for Other Diseases, Such as Shingles?
Getting vaccinated against shingles is essential preventive care that older adults should not delay or discontinue because of the COVID-19 pandemic (unless suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19). One should continue with the vaccination as scheduled, with two doses administered within the recommended interval of 2 to 6 months. You should not delay any other vaccinations just because you have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.
Is It Possible to Take Both the Covid-19 Vaccine and the Shingles Vaccine?
There was previously a lack of data concerning administering COVID-19 vaccines simultaneously with other vaccines. Based on past experience with other types of vaccines, administering two or more vaccines simultaneously had similar immunogenicity and adverse event profiles compared to administering one vaccine alone. Therefore, simultaneous administration is reportedly safe. However, in the initial stages of the vaccine rollout, the general consensus by healthcare professionals was to err on the side of caution, and they recommended that COVID-19 vaccines be administered alone, with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration of any other vaccines.
With the amount of data collected in recent months, the CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, which is under the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) now reports that it is safe to administer COVID-19 vaccines that are currently authorized for use by the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) together with other vaccines without regard to timing. Coadministration within 14 days or even simultaneous administration of the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines on the same day is now permissible (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). However, one should also check with their healthcare provider to assess the risk on a case-by-case basis.
Common Side Effects after Getting the Shingles Vaccine Include Flu-like Symptoms or Fever after Vaccination. I Am Concerned That This Reaction Might Be Confused with Covid-19. Should I Postpone My Vaccination?
No. Please proceed with vaccination as usual. After receiving the shingles vaccine, it is possible that one may experience both local reactions, such as redness, pain, or swelling at the injection site, and systemic reactions, which include fever, chills, headache, and body aches. These are usually resolved within 72 hours after vaccination (Immunization Action Coalition, 2020).
If a fever develops after vaccination, stay home until the fever has fully subsided for 24 hours. The shingles vaccine should not cause any respiratory symptoms common in COVID-19, such as cough or shortness of breath. If such symptoms develop, or if the fever does not subside even after 72 hours of vaccination, one should contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible. If a vaccine recipient develops emergency warning signs for COVID-19, emergency medical care should be sought immediately.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, August 23). Interim clinical considerations for use of covid-19 vaccines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Immunization Action Coalition. (2020, October 22). Ask the experts. Ask the Experts about COVID-19 and Routine Vaccination – IAC experts answer Q&As.