Free Flu Shots Through Clinics Community Organizations And Public Health Departments
Many health departments and free clinics offer low-cost or free flu shots across the U.S. Here are a few examples:
Most colleges offer free flu shots for their students. Check on your schools website to confirm.
Military veterans enrolled in health care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can get a flu shot at their nearest VA health care facility. This program does not apply to family members of veterans.
Many county health departments offer free, or discounted, flu vaccinations during flu season. Examples include:
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, in partnership with select LA County Libraries, will offer free flu shots through November.
The Houston Health Department offers flu shots to uninsured and underinsured people on a sliding scale that ranges from free to $15.
Cant find a location near you on this list? Watch for announcements on your local news station or in your local newspaper or search online for free flu shots in your area or through your citys health department.
How Do Vaccines Work
To understand how the flu vaccine works, you need to understand how your immune system works first. Your immune system fights disease by remembering every single disease youve ever seen in your life. Seriously. Every one of them. In response, your body makes antibodies that tell your white blood cells which infectionsneed to be destroyed. If it helps, think of antibodies as the blue ink that explodes if somebody tries to steal something now we all know who the thief is.
Your body can crank out antibodies at a moments notice for any disease youve ever come into contact with they tag the offending bacteria or virus and your white blood cells come in and the offender dies a horrible death.
Vaccines work by training your bodys immune system. There are two types of vaccines: inactivated, and live/attenuated. Inactivated vaccines are essentially the protein coat of whatever youre trying to vaccinate against. Think of it as what the bacteria or virus is wearing. Live/attenuated vaccines are viruses or bacteria that have been weakened. The vaccine isnt what the virus is wearing, its just a really weak version of the virus itself.
Seasonal Flu Vaccinations Will Be Available At Target Pharmacy Locations Nationwide Beginning September 20th
No appointment necessary to keep healthy this season
MINNEAPOLIS /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Target announces that flu vaccinations will be available beginning September 20th locations nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends nearly everyone protect themselves against this potentially serious illness. With more than 1,500 pharmacy locations, guests can easily safeguard their health in advance of the winter flu season.
No appointment is necessary for the vaccinations, which will be available at Target Pharmacy locations daily, during pharmacy hours throughout the flu season. The pharmacists at Target Pharmacy will be administering the flu vaccinations starting at only $24 . Visit target.com/flu for specific Pharmacy locations, as Pharmacy hours and program age restrictions vary by store and state. Target Pharmacy accepts many different insurance plans so the vaccinations are often covered at no out-of pocket charges to guests.
” Target Pharmacy is a convenient, affordable option for parents looking to keep themselves and their families healthy this flu season,” said Keri Jones . “By offering vaccinations with no appointment necessary, Target aims to make parent’s lives a little easier.”
Although it does not protect against H1N1, the seasonal flu vaccine is essential to protecting families and is recommended by the CDC. An H1N1 vaccine is currently being produced and distributed by the federal and state government.
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The Best Flu Vaccine If Youre Scared Of Needles
While most people use the terms flu vaccine and flu shot interchangeably, not all flu vaccines use a needle to deliver the ingredients.
FluMist Quadrivalent is a nasal spray vaccine. However, its not the right choice for some people. This vaccine is only FDA-approved for people between ages 2 and 49. FluMist Quadrivalent is also a live attenuated vaccine, meaning it contains weakened versions of the flu viruses instead of inactivated viruses. People who are pregnant and those with certain health problems such as a weakened immune system shouldnt receive it.
Achilles’ Heels Of The Current Influenza Vaccines
The success of current influenza vaccination campaigns depends heavily on extensive surveillance and manufacturing resources to ensure timely vaccine delivery. Given that each component of the vaccine is updated every 2 to 3 years on average, it is not too surprising that there are occasional problems. Some of the Achilles’ heels of the current influenza vaccine pipelines and the strategies needed to address them are summarized as follows.
Variable efficacy in specific populations. Influenza vaccines are relatively poorly immunogenic and do not induce long-lasting serum antibody titers. In the elderly, waning immunity also means poor responsiveness to vaccines. Therefore, strategies are required to improve the immune response to vaccine, especially in various at-risk target populations.
Variable virus. Antigenic matching between vaccine strains and circulating strains is critical. Current strategies to address this include improvement of global surveillance and the development of new-generation vaccines that target conserved regions of the virus.
Limited vaccine availability in resource-limited countries. Although not specific for influenza vaccines, there is great disparity in vaccine availability in countries throughout the world. More scalable platforms and cheaper vaccines that induce longer-lasting immunity are needed to address this need.
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Who Shouldnt Get Vaccinated
If youre currently feeling sick, its best to wait until youre better.
Avoid the flu shot if you have a severe allergy to any of the ingredients that may be used in the vaccine, such as:
- egg protein
- monosodium glutamate , a stabilizer that keeps vaccines from losing their potency
- antibiotics, such as neomycin and gentamicin
- polysorbate 80, an emulsifier which keeps the ingredients from separating
- formaldehyde, which inactivates the flu virus
Babies under 6 months old shouldnt be vaccinated.
If youve had Guillain-Barré syndrome, talk to your doctor before getting the flu vaccine.
The nasal spray contains a weakened live virus. It shouldnt be taken by people who:
- are younger than 2 or older than 50 years
- are 2 to 4 years old and have asthma
- are 2 to 17 years old and take medications containing aspirin or salicylate
- are pregnant
- have life threatening allergies to the flu vaccine
- have a suppressed immune system
- are in close contact with someone with a suppressed immune system
- have taken antiviral drugs for the flu within the previous 48 hours
Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of the nasal spray vaccine if you have:
- asthma or chronic lung disease
- a blood disorder
The Best Flu Shot Deals At Cvs Target Publix And More
If youre looking for a place to get a flu shot, theres a good chance your local pharmacys immunization program has what you need. But as youll see, some pharmacies may have better flu shot prices and deals than others.
In this article, Im going to show you some major grocery and pharmacy chains offering flu shot deals as of September 2021.
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How Effective Is The Vaccine
The flu vaccine is usually 40 to 60 percent effective, says the CDC, although this depends on how well it matches the virus strains circulating in any given season. Because the influenza virus mutates, these strains change every year. We wont know how effective this years vaccine is until were further into flu season.
Even if you do get sick, though, the vaccine helps ensure you wont get severely ill. Which makes it less likely youll be one of the 140,000 to 810,000 people hospitalized by the flu every year, or one of the 12,000 to 61,000 who die.
Flu Shots Now Available At Cvs Pharmacy And Minuteclinic
Nearly three quarters of Americans say they plan to get a flu shot this year, with 45 percent planning on getting their vaccine at a retail pharmacy
WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Health is reminding Americans that as the country continues to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic it is more important than ever to stay current with vaccinations and other routine health care needs. By getting a flu shot this fall and taking other proactive measures to improve general health and immunity, individuals and families can protect themselves against seasonal flu and help safeguard the overall health of the community.
According to a survey commissioned by CVS Health Flu Intention Survey, commissioned by CVS Health in June 2021 and conducted among a general population of U.S. consumers, consumers intention to get vaccinated against seasonal flu increased five percentage points from June 2020 to June 2021, with 71 percent of those surveyed saying they definitely or likely will get a flu shot this season. In addition, 45 percent of consumers surveyed said they planned to get a flu shot at a retail pharmacy, the most preferred destination cited, followed by a doctors office .
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals make plans to get vaccinated early in the fall, before flu season begins, and ideally no later than the end of October.
Video and photo assets from MinuteClinic and CVS Pharmacy are available in the CVS Health Media Gallery.
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First Let’s Cover Some Flu Shot Basics
The flu shot is a seasonal vaccine that helps protect against the three or four influenza viruses that researchers predict will be the most common during the upcoming flu season, per the CDC.
- A quadrivalent flu shot that targets four strains of the flu
FWIW: Most flu vaccines in the U.S. are quadrivalent vaccines. There are variations within those types of vaccines, including flu shots that are egg-free. There is also a nasal flu vaccine, called FluMist, thats given through a mist sprayed up your nosebut its not an actual shot.
What Kinds Of Flu Vaccines Are Available
CDC recommends use of any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine during the 2021-2022 influenza season. Available influenza vaccines include quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine , recombinant influenza vaccine , or live attenuated influenza vaccine . No preference is expressed for any influenza vaccine over another.
Quadrivalent flu vaccines include:
Are any of the available flu vaccines recommended over others?
For the 2021-2022 flu season, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with any licensed, influenza vaccine that is appropriate for the recipients age and health status, including inactivated influenza vaccine , recombinant influenza vaccine , or live attenuated nasal spray influenza vaccine with no preference expressed for any one vaccine over another.
There are many vaccine options to choose from, but the most important thing is for all people 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your doctor or other health care professional.
Who Should Vaccinate?
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get an influenza vaccine every season with rare exception. CDCs Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has made this recommendation since the 2010-2011 influenza season.
More information is available at Who Needs a Flu Vaccine.
Who Should Not Be Vaccinated?
When should I get vaccinated?
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How Does The Flu Shot Protect You
The flu shot prompts your immune system to produce antibodies against a specific strain of the flu. If youre exposed to this particular flu virus later, youll already have antibodies ready to fight off the virus.
It usually takes about 2 weeks to build up your immunity to a flu virus after youve been vaccinated against it.
Youll have the most antibodies 1 to 2 months later. After this time, your protection begins to decline. Thats why you need a flu shot every year.
Each years vaccine is based on which strains are most likely to spread during that flu season.
The vaccine wont protect you from every strain. But if you do get sick, itll likely be less severe due to the vaccine.
The 2020-21 flu season may be complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The overlap of these two viral illnesses threatens to overburden hospitals, which typically get an influx of patients who have complications from the seasonal flu.
Getting your flu shot can help lower your risk of flu complications that could put you in the hospital.
Most people have little to no reaction following the vaccine. Theres no live virus in the flu shot, so it cant give you the flu.
Some people have a temporary reaction at the injection site, such as:
Normally, you can get a flu vaccine at your doctors office, your local pharmacy, or even at a walk-in retail clinic.
Some employers even provide flu shots for their employees at their workplace.
- Contact your
Your Immune System Is Like An Army
Think of your bodys immune system as an army. Giving an inactivated vaccine is like holding up the uniform of an enemy soldier in front of your bodys immune system and saying, See this, everybody? You go seek and destroy everybody wearing this. Giving a live/attenuated vaccine is like finding an enemy soldier, beating the crap out of him and putting it in front of your bodys immune system and saying, See this guy right here? You go beat the hell out of anything and anybody who looks like him. Now, if somebody has a compromised immune system, the beat-up bad guy can still cause a lot of damage, which is why people who are immunocompromised or have a weak immune system shouldnt get live/attenuated vaccines.
So is the flu vaccine live? No. The flu vaccine is inactivated its dead. It is nothing more than the protein coat of influenza with all of the DNA removed. It is an empty shell of a uniform.
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Can I Get The Flu From The Flu Vaccine
No. The virus thats in the flu vaccine is either dead or for FluMist Quadrivalent extremely weak. Because of this, flu vaccines are unable to cause the flu. However, some people experience flu-like symptoms in the days that follow their vaccine. These are side effects of the flu vaccine, and its a sign your immune system is learning how to fight the flu virus.
After your flu vaccine, you may experience:
A sore, red, or swollen arm
Remember, these are expected side effects and dont mean youre getting sick with the flu. They should go away within a few days.
Unfortunately, its still possible to get sick with the flu after youve received your flu vaccine. It takes about 2 weeks after your vaccine for your immune system to protect you fully. So its possible to catch the flu during that time. And as mentioned earlier, flu vaccine effectiveness isnt perfect. Its also possible to get sick with a strain that wasnt included in the vaccine.
Variability Of Influenza Virus
The influenza A and B virus genome is composed of eight negative-sense RNA segments. The virus particle consists of a host-derived lipid envelope embedded with 3 or 4 glycoproteins surrounding the ribonucleoprotein complex and the polymerase proteins . The major influenza virus surface glycoproteins are hemagglutinin , neuraminidase , and, in smaller proportions, matrix protein 2 . Influenza B virus has an additional NB protein. Matrix protein 1 and nucleoprotein are associated with viral RNA and are important for viral assembly as well as budding, while the polymerase proteins are important for viral genome replication . HA and NA are the major antigenic proteins and are used to further classify influenza A viruses into multiple subtypes. Sixteen HA and 9 NA influenza A virus subtypes that are antigenically distinct have been identified, with the possible addition of a new subtype, H17, identified recently . Currently, lineages of H1 and H3 viruses circulate endemically in humans. Only a single subtype of influenza B virus has been identified, although two distinct antigenic lineages have evolved over time and cocirculate at variable levels in humans.
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Other Methods Of Manufacture
Methods of vaccine generation that bypass the need for eggs include the construction of influenza virus-like particles . VLP resemble viruses, but there is no need for inactivation, as they do not include viral coding elements, but merely present antigens in a similar manner to a virion. Some methods of producing VLP include cultures of Spodoptera frugiperdaSf9 insect cells and plant-based vaccine production . There is evidence that some VLPs elicit antibodies that recognize a broader panel of antigenically distinct viral isolates compared to other vaccines in the hemagglutination-inhibition assay .
A gene-based DNA vaccine, used to prime the immune system after boosting with an inactivated H5N1 vaccine, underwent clinical trials in 2011.
On November 20, 2012, Novartis received FDA approval for the first cell-culture vaccine. In 2013, the recombinant influenza vaccine, Flublok, was approved for use in the United States.
On September 17, 2020, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency adopted a positive opinion, recommending the granting of a marketing authorization for Supemtek, a quadrivalent influenza vaccine . The applicant for this medicinal product is Sanofi Pasteur. Supemtek was approved for medical use in the European Union in November 2020.