A combined COVID-19/flu shot would inoculate people against the two viruses in one sitting.
More and more data starts to indicate that COVID-19 vaccine efficacy lowers as time passes. This has been making researchers and health experts to consider the possibility of an annual COVID-19 booster shot, one that we’ll likely have to use for a long time. According to Reuters, Moderna is the first company to start working on a combination booster that features the flu and COVID-19 shot.
“Why develop a COVID-19 and influenza booster? Because these are both respiratory viruses that we have observed really increase in incidence over the winter months, particularly when we’re driven indoors,” said the senior vice president of Moderna at the company’s R&D annual meeting.
A combination shot could be an incredibly convenient way of getting both shots out of the way, while also encouraging those who don’t prioritize flu shots to get them, since COVID-19 is a pressing concern for the majority of people.
Combination vaccines are common, used primarily in children. Their existence helps people get their shots without feeling like they’re overwhelmed, since getting one shot is much more comforting and less painful than getting three different ones. They’re also safe, having been used for decades, and would have to go through a trial period like any other vaccine that’s been approved for use in the U.S.
The world’s got tunnel vision for COVID-19, forgetting that there are other diseases around. As we enter flu season, it’s important to try out best to avoid this disease, since it’s very dangerous, especially if hospitals are experiencing more traffic than usual due to the pandemic.
If pursued and approved, the Moderna combination shot will likely take some time to be available. In the meantime, it’s important to get your flu shot whenever you can, and to get your COVID-19 booster shot when you’re able and when the government allows it.