Some confuse the symptoms of the shingles vaccine against influenza vaccination if they are received on the same day

Americans who receive their flu and shingles vaccines at the same time are less likely to return and get their routine flu shots back a year later, a new study suggests.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University Medical School, both in Boston, Massachusetts, found that the strategy of getting Americans to their shots at once could randomly lower the vaccination rate.

They found that older Americans who received their flu and shingles vaccination together were five percent less likely to return to get their flu shot back next year.

Although they can not pinpoint a cause, they believe it is because people misinterpret the severe symptoms of shingles for flu shot and are put off by it.

Researchers found that people who got their shingles vaccine and flu shots together were 5% less likely to return to get a flu shot in a subsequent year.  They believe it may be because people misinterpreted side effects of the shingles shot as caused by the flu shot (file photo)

Researchers found that people who got their shingles vaccine and flu shots together were 5% less likely to return to get a flu shot in a subsequent year. They believe it may be because people misinterpreted side effects of the shingles shot as caused by the flu shot (file photo)

The shingles vaccine, also called the zoster vaccine (pictured), is a two-dose jab for people over 50 years of age.  The doses are taken at two to six month intervals

The shingles vaccine, also called the zoster vaccine (pictured), is a two-dose jab for people over 50 years of age. The doses are taken at two to six month intervals

Researchers collected data from the 2018 and 2019 flu seasons for the study and avoided the pandemic period when very few Americans got their annual flu jab.

The team, which announced their findings Friday at the JAMA Network Open, collected data from nearly 90,000 local residents who received both influenza and shingles or zoster vaccines in 2018.

People aged 50 years or older are advised to receive the shingles vaccine in two doses, with each shot coming at two to six month intervals.

The side effects of the shot can be far-reaching, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that it can affect a person’s ability to perform routine tasks for two to three days.

‘Most people got a sore arm with mild or moderate pain after getting it [the shot], and some also had redness and swelling where they got the shot. Some people felt tired, had muscle aches, headaches, chills, fever, stomach pain or nausea, ‘writes CDC.

Many people who receive their shingles vaccine will receive their flu shot at the same time because doctors recommend it to them in an effort to save time and increase vaccine coverage.

Of the study population, more than 27,000 received both shots simultaneously, while 62,000 received both shots, but on separate occasions.

A year later, shingles treatment would be completed, but people are expected to return to their flu shot again.

Researchers found that 91 percent of the people who received their flu shot separately from the shingles vaccine in 2018 returned next flu season.

But those who received their shots together next year were less likely to return, as only 87 percent of recipients received their flu shot in 2019.

Researchers believe that the potentially intense side effects of the shingles vaccine may also have knocked some people off the flu shot.

Shingles is a condition that affects people who have had chickenpox in the past.  It causes a person to break into rashes.  It is rarely deadly.  Pictured: Rash caused by shingles

Shingles is a condition that affects people who have had chickenpox in the past. It causes a person to break into rashes. It is rarely deadly. Pictured: Rash caused by shingles

“One possible explanation is that some patients may have attributed systemic side effects caused by the zoster vaccine to the flu vaccine,” the researchers wrote.

‘It may be preferable to administer these [two] vaccines separately or improve patient advice on expected vaccine adverse reactions. ‘

Another potential explanation is that people only got their flu vaccination because they were offered it when they went to get the shingles vaccine and no longer cared about the routine vaccine once they had already received the shingles vaccine.

Shingles is a virus that can affect people who had chickenpox in their youth.

While the exact cause of the condition is not known, the virus will reactivate in a person’s body and cause them to break out in rashes.

The risk of dying from shingles is very low, but it can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems.

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