Study Explores Potential Stroke Risk When COVID-19 and Flu Vaccines Administered Together

The CDC has reassured the public that it is safe to get both seasonal influenza and the bi-valent COVID-19 vaccine at the same time. However, a recent study reveals that there may be a slight increase in strokes when these two vaccines are administered in tandem within 1-21 days after vaccination to people aged 85 or older.  

Recommended course: Adult Immunization Update: What every NP needs to know 

This information was revealed by the Vaccine Safety Datalink research experts who examined over 5 million Medicare claims on patients over the age of 65 who received both of the vaccines and then suffered a stroke. There was a 15% difference in the number of strokes between those who received Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (35%) and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (20%).  

Although the original study is small, it is the second study evaluating this risk of stroke. Data reveals that there are approximately 3 strokes or TIAs for every 100,000 doses of vaccines given, primarily high dose influenza and is thought to be due to the increased immune response causing the strokes.  

Further studies needed 

Other studies are looking more deeply into this risk, but ongoing studies that include analysis on the relationship between ischemic stroke and these vaccines need to be performed to provide clarity on this risk.  

It is important to understand that current data does not provide clear evidence of any safety issues and other study results have not shown any consistent pattern to increased risk.  

Clinicians still recommend that patients receive simultaneous vaccinations to maintain protection from vaccine-preventable diseases. Many clinicians feel this is important to vaccinate whenever possible, especially if it is likely that the patient will not returning for other important vaccines. Patient education on this topic is key and reassuring patients that it remains safe to receive simultaneous vaccines.

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