Getting routine vaccinations together can save you time and may be more effective
Getting vaccinated is safer than getting sick. But if you’re traveling abroad, older than 65 or plan to get vaccinated for influenza (flu) and COVID-19, the number of vaccinations you need can feel overwhelming.
What if you could get multiple vaccines in one visit — the old one-and-done approach? It’d be more convenient, but is it safe?
Primary care specialist Daniel Sullivan, MD, answers that question and explains what you need to know about getting more than one vaccine at a time.
Can you get multiple vaccines at once as an adult?
The short answer is yes. “It’s been shown both in studies and in general use that getting more than one vaccine in a day is completely safe,” says Dr. Sullivan.
Getting more than one vaccine doesn’t mean mixing all the vaccines in a single syringe and getting only one shot, though. It means you can safely get multiple, separate vaccines during one appointment.
Mixing or combining vaccines into one shot is only OK for certain formulations approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). One approved combo is HepA-HepB — a single vaccination that guards adults against both hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
While it’s safe, there are still some pros and cons to weigh about getting multiple, separate shots in one visit. Let’s take a look.
Benefits of getting multiple vaccines at one time
Overall, doubling or even tripling up on vaccines offers more benefits than downsides.
“If you don’t mind getting multiple shots, you’ll be better off stacking multiple vaccines into one appointment when you can,” Dr. Sullivan says.
Check out these potential benefits of getting multiple vaccinations at once.
Vaccines trigger your immune system to produce antibodies — proteins that recognize and attack a disease or virus.
You may wonder if your body can mount an immune response to more than one vaccine at a time. Dr. Sullivan explains that getting vaccines simultaneously is not only safe, but it also may actually make each of those vaccines even more effective.
“Getting a vaccine improves your body’s immune response,” Dr. Sullivan explains. “The second vaccine enhances that response and intensifies your ability to react to the vaccine trigger.”
He also recommends getting multiple vaccines in the same arm whenever possible. Research suggests it may encourage a stronger immune response than vaccines given in different limbs.
“When multiple vaccines target the same local lymph nodes, those lymph nodes produce more antibodies and help your body build a stronger response to the vaccine,” he adds.