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CDC: You Can Get Other Vaccines at the Same Time as COVID-19 Vaccine

vaccination
The COVID-19 vaccine can be given with other vaccines.

Key Takeaways

  • CDC officials now say it’s OK to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines.
  • The CDC previously recommended people wait 14 days after the COVID-19 vaccine before getting other vaccines.
  • Experts hope the recommendations will encourage people to catch up on other vaccines they may have missed over the past year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says it’s OK to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines. The news came during a meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) in which the committee gave its stamp of approval for children as young as 12 to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Kate Woodworth, MD, a pediatrician at the CDC said during the meeting that “extensive experience” with non-COVID-19 vaccines has shown that the ability of a vaccine to create an immune response, along with potential side effects “are generally similar when vaccines are administered simultaneously as when they are administered alone."

Previously, the ACIP recommended that COVID-19 vaccines be given alone, with a minimum of 14 days before or after for any other vaccine to be given, “to better understand any adverse reactions,” Woodworth said. Now, she said, they've collected “substantial data” about the safety of vaccines.

Under the new ACIP recommendations, the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines can be given regardless of timing. That includes giving the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines on the same day (known as “co-administration” of the vaccines), as well as giving the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines within 14 days of each other.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also released a statement on Wednesday endorsing co-administration of the COVID-19 vaccine with other vaccines.

Why the Recommendations Changed

Both the CDC and AAP say safety data and a need to catch up children and teens on missed vaccinations played a role.

"The AAP supports giving other childhood and adolescent immunizations at the same time as COVID-19 vaccines, particularly for children and teens who are behind on their immunizations,” the AAP’s statement reads. “Between the substantial data collected on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, and the extensive experience with non-COVID-19 vaccines which shows the immune response and side effects are generally similar when vaccines are given together as when they are administered alone, the benefits of co-administration and timely catch up on vaccinations outweigh any theoretical risk.”

Woodworth also said that “updated co-administration recommendations may facilitate catch up vaccination of adolescents.” She cited data that showed the administration of many other vaccines has declined during the pandemic.

Specifically, vaccine orders from providers were down 11.7 million doses as of May 2, 2021 when compared with 2019. The gap was largest in vaccines usually given to teens, including:

  • The Tdap vaccine (down 18.9%)
  • HPV vaccine (down 19.3%)
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (down 15.1%)

What This Means For You

If you have children, you may need to make one less trip to the doctor to get them vaccinated. Talk to your pediatrician about getting your child the COVID-19 vaccine if they're 12 and older, as well as any vaccines they may have missed over the past year.

Doctors Support the Change

Richard Watkins, MD, an infectious disease physician and a professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, tells Verywell that there was never “any compelling evidence” for the previous recommendation, adding, “I am glad it has been changed.”

Watkins says that the move may help more children get vaccinated, noting the convenience factor. Under the updated guidance, families “only have to make one trip to get vaccinated” instead of several under the previous recommendations, he says.

John Schreiber, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, tells Verywell that the changed guidance “seems like a reasonable thing to do.”

Schreiber anticipates that some parents may still be wary to give their children other vaccines at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine, but say that new recommendations are sound.

“I don’t have any concerns with this,” Schreiber says. But, he adds, the CDC and AAP will monitor children to see what happens next. “If it turns out that children are complaining about more side effects after getting vaccinated, I’m sure the recommendations can be modified."

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

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Article Sources
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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Clinical Considerations for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccination in Adolescents. May 12, 2021.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Clinical Considerations for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccination in Adolescents. May 12, 2021.

  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics Calls for Children and Teens Age 12 and Up to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine. May 12, 2021.