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Can getting the flu shot, or vaccines against pneumonia, help ward off pneumonia brought on by COVID-19?

There is no evidence that getting the vaccination against influenza will help against COVID-19. They are different viruses and the antibodies that protect us from one virus do not protect us against the other. You could, however, be infected with both viruses at the same time, and getting the vaccination against influenza will reduce your likelihood of getting the flu and being sick from two viruses at the same time.

Similarly, vaccines such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus. The term pneumonia means any lung inflammation caused by a bacterial or viral infection.

Although these vaccines are not effective against COVID-19, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.

Note: To date, career public servant-scientists at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Before the EUA was granted, independent experts serving on the FDA's vaccine advisory committee had voted overwhelming that, for people 16 years old and above, the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks. Canada and Britain have also cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use. There are limited doses of the vaccine, and it is expected the vaccine will first be made available to those most at risk to COVID-19 - health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities - although this will differ by state. For more information on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, check out this nice FAQ from NPR.

Updated 12 December 2020