Getting Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines Together: What Happens?

Getting flu and pneumonia vaccines together is safe and can boost your immunity against respiratory illnesses.

As flu season nears, folks are curious about getting flu and pneumonia vaccines at the same time. Recent studies show it’s safe and good for older people to do this.

A project with 124 older folks found giving both flu and pneumonia shots together is safe and works.1 This research looked at effects of the shots given alone versus together. The good news is, no bad reactions were seen,1 and they found the flu shot helped boost antibodies a lot.1 There wasn’t much of a difference in antibodies between those who got one shot versus both shots.1 Though the pneumonia shot might slightly reduce antibody levels with the flu shot, the overall study said it’s safe and a good idea.1

Key Takeaways

  • It’s safe and helpful for older adults, especially the at-risk ones, to get the flu and pneumonia shots together.
  • There were no big bad effects in the people who got the shots.
  • The flu shot really upped the people’s antibodies. Plus, whether they got both shots or just one, the difference wasn’t big.
  • The study suggests it’s a wise and cost-effective choice to get both vaccines at once.
  • The CDC has tips about when and how to get these shots.

Understanding Pneumococcal Infections

Pneumococcal infections are very serious and can be life-threatening. They cause diseases like pneumonia and meningitis.1 These illnesses happen because of the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. They especially affect high-risk groups.2

Life-Threatening Bacterial Infections

Pneumococcal infections can become life-threatening quickly.2 Each year, about 1.5 million people are hospitalized due to pneumonia. Also, 100,000 of those people die, and a third of them die within the next year.2

High-Risk Groups

Some groups are at higher risk for severe pneumococcal disease. This includes kids under 2, people older than 65, and those with health issues like diabetes or heart disease.1 These people are more likely to get very sick from pneumococcal infections. So, they need special attention for vaccination and prevention.2

Transmission and Symptoms

The bacteria spread through coughing or sneezing by infected people.1 Symptoms of the disease include chest pain, confusion, and fever. You might also feel chills, joint pain, or have trouble sleeping.1

Importance of Pneumococcal Vaccination

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say getting the pneumococcal vaccine is important for everyone. It’s especially key for kids under 5 and adults 65 and older.3 There are also some folks under 65 at high risk who should get vaccinated.3 The vaccines guard against serious pneumococcal infections, the most common types out there. While they don’t stop all infections, they make illnesses less harsh if you do catch one.1

CDC Recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lays out advice for who should get pneumococcal shots.3 They push for all kids under 5 and adults over 65, as well as those with certain health issues, to be vaccinated.3

Protection Against Common Strains

The vaccines specifically target the most common strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae. This germ leads to serious problems like pneumonia, meningitis, and bacteremia.1 Even though they don’t stop all infections, they significantly lower the risks if you do get sick.1

Pneumococcal vaccination

Safety of Simultaneous Administration

A recent study looked into giving flu and pneumonia shots at the same time to older people.1 They checked 124 older folks and saw no big problems after they were vaccinated.1 They also found that pairing these vaccines didn’t harm how well their body made protections from the diseases.1

Study on Elderly Population

In this research, scientists aimed to see if it was safe and good to give these shots together to older adults.1 They found it was indeed a secure way, even for those more likely to get very sick from pneumonia.1

No Significant Side Effects

No big bad effects were seen in those who got both shots together.1 This finding is good news. It means the combo shot is safe for older people who need it more.

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Antibody Response Unaffected

The test results showed that getting both shots didn’t lower the body’s fight against the diseases.1 This is a key point. It shows these shots can still keep you safe from the flu and pneumonia.

Timing and Scheduling

The CDC guides us on when to get pneumococcal and flu shots.4 Babies usually start their pneumococcal shots at 2, 4, and 6 months old. They get another shot at 12-15 months.4 How many shots you need later on depends on your age and health.4

Childhood Vaccination Schedule

Most kids get their first pneumococcal vaccines early on.4 Kids under 2 are more at risk for these diseases.4 So, the CDC says all kids under 5 should get these vaccines.4

Adult Vaccination Schedule

For grown-ups, the gap between different pneumococcal vaccines should be at least a year. If you’re at high risk, the gap is 8 weeks.4 Those 65 and up get sick from pneumococcal disease more often.4 They might need two vaccines if they haven’t had one before.4

Precautions and Contraindications

The CDC gives tips on who should avoid getting a pneumococcal vaccine. You shouldn’t get this vaccine if you had a bad allergic reaction to it or its parts.5 Also, those with very serious allergies might not be able to get certain kinds of this vaccine.5 It’s wise to talk about your health history with your doctor before getting a vaccine.

If you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to this vaccine in the past, the CDC suggests skipping it.5 The same goes if you’re really allergic to its ingredients.5 Speaking with your doctor is important to make sure you’re safe to get vaccinated.

Precautions and Contraindications for Pneumococcal Vaccination
  • Severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or any of its components
  • Life-threatening allergies that may make certain pneumococcal vaccine formulations ineligible
  • Discuss medical history and potential contraindications with healthcare provider before vaccination

what happens if you get a flu shot and pneumonia shot at the same time

Vaccine Interactions

The CDC says it’s safe for grown-ups to get both the flu and pneumonia vaccines at once.4 They should use different syringes for each shot. And, to be safe, give them in different spots.1 But, kids might have a tiny bit more risk of febrile seizures if they get the pneumococcal vaccine and the flu vaccine together.4

CDC Guidelines

The CDC thinks yearly flu shots are a must for stopping the flu and cutting down on pneumococcal diseases.4 Doctors should think about all the pros and cons before giving both shots to kids.4

Pneumococcal Vaccine Effectiveness

Pneumococcal vaccines don’t stop all infections, but they guard against the common and severe ones.4 They aim at the main types of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. These bacteria cause infections that can be deadly.4 If you’re vaccinated and still catch an infection, it usually won’t be as bad.4 Studies show getting vaccinated cuts down on the chances of going to the hospital. It also makes life better for those who’ve had the shots.4

Protection Against Common Strains

Vaccines keep you safe from the usual pneumococcal infections. They lessen the risk of these illnesses becoming severe.4 Certain groups are more likely to get very sick from pneumonia. This includes young kids, older adults, and people with health issues or who smoke.4

Reduced Severity of Infections

Getting a vaccine means if you do get sick, it won’t be so bad.4 You’re also less likely to end up in the hospital. And, overall, life is better for those who are protected by the vaccines.4

Co-administration with Influenza Vaccine

The CDC says it’s okay for adults to get the pneumococcal and flu shots in one visit.3 They should use separate syringes and pick different spots for the shots.

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Adults: Safe to Administer Together

For adults, getting the pneumonia and flu shots in one go is fine if done correctly.3 This method is both safe and works well.

Children: Potential Febrile Seizure Risk

But, in kids, combining these shots could increase the risk of febrile seizures.3 Doctors should think about the risks and benefits carefully for children.

Vaccine Administration Guidelines

The CDC has clear steps on giving out pneumococcal vaccines right.3 PPSV23 can go into the muscle or under the skin. PCV15 and PCV20 go into the muscle only. Also, pick the needle length based on how big the person is.

Visual Inspection

Healthcare workers must look closely at the vaccine first. They should check for anything unusual, like floating bits or a change in color. If they see anything, the vaccine can’t be used.3

Route, Site, and Needle Size

Vaccines for pneumococcal disease must be given the right way, in the right spot, with the right needle.3 For adults, the muscle in the upper arm is best for the shot. The needle length depends on how old and how big the person is.6

Predrawing Doses

Vaccines for pneumococcal should never be drawn up in advance. Every dose has to be made ready and given right then. This keeps the vaccine strong and clean.3

The amount of vaccine and when to give it changes with age and health. Doctors should look at the newest CDC advice for the right amount and timing of shots.3

High-Risk Groups and Medical Conditions

The CDC suggests getting a pneumococcal shot for kids under 5 and seniors over 65.7 Also, it’s advised for those with certain health issues like heart and lung diseases.7 This includes people with diabetes and weak immune systems.7 The vaccination plan changes depending on age and health conditions.

Children Under Age 2

For kids under 2, four shots of PCV15 or PCV20 are recommended. These are given at 2, 4, 6 months, and 12-15 months.7 Between 2 and 4 years, children without specific risks should get one shot.7 If they have health issues like heart problems, they might need more shots.

Adults Over 65

Everyone over 65 should get a pneumococcal vaccine, according to the CDC.7 For those 19 to 64 at high risk, like with lung disease, a shot of PCV15 or PCV20 is recommended.7 If never vaccinated, they should start with one of these and may need another type later.7

Chronic Diseases and Immunocompromised

For those with certain health issues, the risk of serious pneumococcal disease is higher. This includes diseases of the heart, lungs, and kidneys, diabetes, sickle cell disease, and immune system problems.7 Getting vaccinated is key. How they get vaccinated depends on their health and age.7

Benefits of Pneumococcal Vaccination

Pneumococcal vaccination is a great way to fight off pneumococcal disease.8 It helps lessen the chance of going to the hospital due to this infection.8 It also makes life better for those who get the vaccines. They can avoid serious illnesses like pneumonia, meningitis, and bacteremia.8

Reduced Hospitalizations

Vaccines for pneumococcal diseases cut down the chances of being hospitalized.8 They protect against serious types of this infection. This not only helps patients but also eases the strain on healthcare systems.8

Improved Quality of Life

Getting vaccinated against pneumococcal diseases improves life quality.8 It stops severe conditions like pneumonia, meningitis, and bacteremia. This means people can stay healthy and enjoy life more.8

Vaccine TypeProtection against Pneumococcal BacteriaAvailabilityCommon Side Effects
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccines (PCVs)PCV15 and PCV20 protect against 15 and 20 types of pneumococcal bacteria respectively.8PCV15 and PCV20 were licensed for adults in 2021 and children in 2022 and 2023 respectively.8Redness, swelling, fever, loss of appetite, and muscle aches.8
Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPSV23)PPSV23 protects 6 to 7 in 10 adults against invasive pneumococcal disease.8PPSV23 has been available since 1984.8Redness, fever, and muscle aches.8
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Getting the flu and pneumonia shots together is safe and very helpful.9 Research shows there are no bad side effects from doing this. It doesn’t harm how your body fights diseases, either.9

Especially for high-risk groups like kids, the elderly, and sick people, getting the pneumonia shot is important.9 It stops dangerous infections and makes sickness less severe.9 When you get both these shots, your body gets stronger against tough respiratory diseases.

The CDC has new recommendations for flu shots for the 2021–2022 season.9 Also, they found that COVID-19 made pneumococcal disease and SARS-CoV-2 coinfections more risky. But there’s hope that the pneumonia shot will help fight these risks.9 The pandemic has changed how people think about getting sick. But it didn’t really change their minds about taking vaccines, even if they have chronic illnesses.9

If we see the value in getting flu and pneumonia shots at the same time, we can protect ourselves better.9 It’s a safe and smart move, especially now with the pandemic ongoing.9 It gives extra protection to those who are more likely to get seriously ill.9


What happens if you get a flu shot and pneumonia shot at the same time?

Studies have shown getting the flu shot and pneumonia shot together is safe and effective. This is true even for the elderly and people at risk. There are no big side effects. Also, the shots working together doesn’t drop the strength of your immune response.

What are the side effects of getting the flu vaccine and pneumonia vaccine together?

Older adults who got both shots at once reported no major side effects. Both vaccines were fine for them. The vaccines didn’t weaken how well the immune system reacted either.

Can you get the pneumonia vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same time?

Yes, the CDC says it’s okay for adults to have both the flu and pneumococcal shots together. They can use different syringes and inject you in different places if needed.

What is the difference between the flu vaccine and the pneumonia vaccine?

The flu shot fights off flu viruses. The pneumonia shot, called the pneumococcal vaccine, protects against streptococcus pneumoniae. This can cause serious sicknesses like pneumonia, meningitis, and blood infections.

Who should get the pneumonia vaccine?

The CDC says that all children under 5 and adults over 65 should get the pneumonia shot. Plus, people with health issues that make them prone to pneumonia should also get it.

How often should you get the pneumonia vaccine?

The schedule for the pneumonia shot depends on things like your age, health, and if you’ve had the shot before. The CDC has detailed advice on when and how often to get it.

Can the pneumonia vaccine cause side effects?

Just like any vaccine, it might cause some arm soreness or mild fever. Serious side effects are very rare, but they could be a fever, muscle pain, or allergic reactions.

How long does the pneumonia vaccine last?

The pneumonia shot’s protection lasts for a few years. Adults over 65 should get it again after 5 years.

Can the pneumonia vaccine make you sick?

No, the pneumonia vaccine can’t give you pneumonia. It’s made from a part of the bacteria that doesn’t cause the disease.

Is the pneumonia vaccine safe for everyone?

The pneumonia shot is pretty safe, but not for people who had serious allergic reactions to it before. It’s best to talk with a doctor about any health concerns before getting the shot.

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