When we published our updated MEA information leaflet on Covid-19 booster jabs, flu vaccines and pneumococcal vaccine two weeks ago I noted that there were going to be pros and cons to having both vaccines together and that we didn’t have any feedback from people with ME/CFS at the time who had been given a flu vaccine and a (Pfizer) Covid-19 booster together.
An interesting report in the Mail on Sunday today follows up some feedback from their resident GP, Dr Ellie Cannon – who reported last week that she was hearing from patients who had been ‘knocked for six’ after receiving a double dose.
The MoS report also includes comments from vaccine experts as to why this might be happening – especially in older age groups.
‘A number of my friends have had the two jabs together, and felt quite poorly,'
‘It passes and can be managed at home with paracetamol. I've stocked up on painkillers in anticipation of having my booster and flu vaccines.'Pharmaceuticals expert Professor Penny Ward of King's College London
Prof Ward has an intriguing theory as to why some people suffering. ‘We know that side effects can be worse after the Pfizer vaccine, and I wonder whether those who feel really rough and people who previously had AstraZeneca, and are now having their first Pfizer, as a booster.'
Additionally, the flu vaccine given to adults over the age of 65 is formulated to ‘rev up' ageing immune systems, to give the best possible protection. ‘People say they get more side effects with this,' explained Prof Ward.
Vaccine expert Professor Adam Finn, at Bristol Medical School, who was involved in the original flu/Covid jab combo trials, said it was difficult to predict who would suffer side effects more than others.
‘There was a spread of age ranges in study, with a few hundred over the age of 65. We do know younger people get worse side effects.'
On a personal basis, I went to my local GP surgery yesterday morning to have my flu vaccine and was (unexpectedly) offered the (Pfizer) Covid-19 booster at the same time.
Having not had any problems up till now with either the flu vaccine last year, or both Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccines I decided to have both.
I have had a fairly rough 24 hours with tingling in the mouth, pain at the injection sites and feeling generally unwell – although things seem to be improving today
So please can we have your feedback – positive or negative – if you have had both jabs together.
Dr Charles Shepherd
Hon Medical Adviser MEA