Online discussions of combination flu-COVID-19 vaccine turns negative

On June 10, Moderna reported positive results from a late-stage clinical trial of a combination mRNA-based flu and COVID-19 vaccine for adults 50 and older. Many online users expressed skepticism about the vaccine, with some declaring that they would never take it. Other posts went further, claiming that they would refuse all vaccines after COVID-19.

Recommendation: Online conversation about Moderna’s flu-COVID-19 vaccine may prompt patient questions about this vaccine as well as the flu and COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available. Messaging may emphasize that the new combination flu-COVID-19 vaccine is subject to the same rigorous clinical trial and approval process that all vaccines undergo before approval. Moderna reports that the combination vaccine produced a stronger immune response to three flu virus strains than flu vaccines currently in the market. Combination vaccines, like those for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), and for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTAP), are common and safe. The CDC recommends flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months and older.