Am I Less At Risk Of Getting COVID-19 If I Got A Flu Shot?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 1:28 PM, Apr 30, 2020

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Bill Smith asks: 

"Hi, my wife and I received our flu and pneumonia vaccine shots last quarter of 2019.  Are we protected at all from the coronavirus since we got the preventative vaccine last year? What's the risk?"

We asked the experts: Dr. Irfan N. Hafiz, an infectious disease physician and chief medical officer for Northwestern Medicine's northwest region; Katie Cary, Vice President of Infection Prevention for HCA Continental Division; and Dr. Jasmine Marcelin, an infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medicine.

Their take: Even with a flu shot, you're still at a medium risk of contracting COVID-19.

"Neither of these vaccines are working to help to prevent you from developing COVID-19," Dr. Marcelin said.

"It would provide some sort of a protection from developing like a secondary bacterial pneumonia if you did get coronavirus. But again, it's not going to impact your risk of getting coronavirus," Cary said. 

"Those germs can cause pneumonia, but they have different causes and therefore, the vaccines are specific to those types. So the bottom line answer is that the influenza and pneumonia vaccine is not really going to do anything to prevent coronavirus or its complications," Dr. Hafiz said.  

"So the things that you can do to prevent it are washing your hands, avoiding large groups, so physical distancing, and trying to avoid touching your face," Dr. Marcelin said. 

 If you have a question about your risk, send us a video to You can see answers to other questions here