Coadministration of flu and COVID-19 vaccines is safe and effective, according to findings published recently in JAMA Network Open, and Moderna report a strong immune response to its experimental vaccine that would combine flu and COVID-19 vaccination into a single shot.
A recent study published last month in JAMA Network Open adds support for the safety and efficacy of coadministration of COVID-19 and influenza vaccines. This study found that receiving the flu and COVID-19 vaccines simultaneously produced a non-inferior safety and efficacy profile when compared to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine alone.
Getting both vaccines at the same visit is convenient, saving time for patients, caregivers and vaccine providers. But, until now, limited data on the safety and efficacy of coadministration have been published.
Tal Gonen, M.D., and colleagues from the Sheba Medical Center in Israel conducted a study to compare the safety and efficacy of administering both vaccines at the same time. Vaccines were offered to all employees and could be given together or separately. The study included a total of 88 healthcare worker participants between from September 2022 to January 2023. One group received the COVID-19 or flu shot alone, waiting at least 7 days before receiving the other, while the second group received the COVID and flu vaccines on the same day. The participants reported side effects and gave blood samples to reveal titers used for assessing the extent of immune response to the vaccines.
No significant differences in responses were found between the two vaccination schedules, suggesting that coadministration is safe and effective.
These findings are important as the coadministration of vaccines is essential for adherence. This research contributes to the growing body of evidence on the safe coadministration of COVID-19 and flu vaccines, which is particularly relevant for healthcare workers who care for COVID-19 patients and have contact with vulnerable patient populations.
As vaccination efforts continue worldwide, understanding the immunogenicity and reactogenicity of coadministered vaccines is crucial for optimizing public health strategies. Further research is needed to explore the effect of simultaneous administration of booster doses and to assess the coadministration of specific COVID-19 variants with flu vaccines.
Meanwhile, early results from Moderna’s phase 1/2 study investigating their combination flu-COVID vaccine reflect a strong immune response, according to a press release from the company earlier this month. The trial showed that mRNA-1083, a combination vaccine against influenza and COVID-19, demonstrated strong immunogenicity against both influenza and COVID-19, with an acceptable safety profile.
The phase 1/2 trial compared mRNA-1083 to licensed standalone vaccines, Fluarix and Fluzone HD, and a Spikevax booster. mRNA-1083 achieved antibody titers similar to or greater than the licensed influenza vaccines and achieved SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody titers similar to the Spikevax booster. Reported side effects were similar to the existing COVID-19 boosters; most adverse events were mild or moderate, with less than 4% of trial participants experiencing severe side effects.
Based on these results, Moderna plans to begin a phase 3 trial of mRNA-1083 in adults aged 50 and older. The combination vaccine aims to provide higher compliance, easier administration, and greater convenience for individuals, providers, and healthcare systems. Moderna intends to seek regulatory approval for the combined vaccine in 2025.