Will people sign up for Moderna’s combo COVID-19-flu shot? Convenience may increase vaccinations, experts say

By Cynthia McCormick Hibbert

As of last month, more than twice as many adults in the U.S. had been vaccinated against the seasonal flu than had received the updated COVID-19 vaccine, even though COVID hospitalization rates were higher than those for influenza.

But with Moderna announcing the success of its combined mRNA COVID-19 and flu shot in a late stage trial, company executives said they hope to see an increase in the number of people adhering to vaccination recommendations.

“A combination vaccine that could provide dual protection in a single shot has the potential to encourage more widespread vaccination uptake while also reducing the burden of acute respiratory disease on health systems,” Francesca Ceddia, Moderna’s chief medical affairs officer, said in a June 10 blog post.

She said that uptake of the 2023/2024 flu vaccine was 48.4% and 22.4% for the updated COVID-19 vaccine for people over the age of 18. She pointed to CDC statistics that showed the only time in the past seven months hospitalizations for flu were higher than for COVID-19 was a couple of weeks in late December and early January.

The convenience of the two-for-one shot could drive up the percentage of people vaccinated against the coronavirus, says Mansoor Amiji, Northeastern University distinguished professor of pharmaceutical sciences and chemical engineering.

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