The Flu Vaccine Helps Protect You And Your Family From The Flu
Millions of people get influenza every year. While it may be common, seasonal flu is a potentially serious disease. It can lead to hospitalization and even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .1 Thats why its recommended to get a flu vaccine every year to help protect yourself and your family.2 The flu vaccine can help:
- Weaken or prevent the flu
- Reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 percent to 60 percent during seasons when the flu vaccine viruses are similar to circulating flu viruses1
Does Medicare Pay For Flu Shots At Walmart
Medicare covers one flu shot per flu season, so long as you are enrolled in Medicare Part B flu season runs from November to April.
You can have your flu shot for free with any provider who is Medicare-enrolled and who accepts assignment, without any deductible or coinsurance to pay.
Walmarts pharmacies are Medicare-enrolled, accept assignment, so you are covered for a flu shot at Walmart.
Ask the Walmart pharmacist to forward the flu shot information to your primary care doctor.
When To Get The Flu Shot
Most people contract the influenza virus during flu season,’ which typically lasts from October through March, with most of cases peaking in January. The flu poses risks to people of various ages, ranging from the very young, the very old, to those with compromised immune systems. Here are some things to remember before and after you have your flu shot:
- It takes about 2 weeks for a person to build up immunity after receiving a flu shot . So, ideally, people should get the flu shot about 2 weeks before flu season begins.
- Flu shots are usually only effective for about 6 months, after that it starts to weaken and a person could potentially get the flu even after receiving a flu shot.
- So, despite the early aggressive marketing by retail pharmacies if it’s a long flu season and a person gets a flu shot in August, they would be protected until January.
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What’s The Best Way To Protect Yourself From The Flu
Its important to get the flu shot every year. The flu shot protects you against the flu virus.
It can help you prevent a hospitalization or complications of actually getting the flu.
It is very easy to find a local pharmacy or your providers office. Its offered in multiple, multiple locations.
Not only that, its also covered at 100% in most plans.
The Cost Of Other Vaccines
The cost of recommended vaccines varies depending on your insurance plan. If you have private insurance, you will likely get most of the recommended vaccines for free or with a small copayment.
If you are covered by Medicare Part B, you will be able to get some vaccines for little to no cost. The included vaccines are the flu shot, pneumococcal disease vaccine, and the hepatitis B vaccine if you have a pre-existing condition. If you are covered by Medicare part D, you will be able to get the shingles vaccine and the Tdap vaccine for little to no cost.
The cost of vaccines for adults who are covered by Medicaid varies significantly by state. If you are covered by Medicaid, you will likely access a flu shot for little to no cost. If you are not covered by insurance, the out-of-pocket cost of vaccines varies depending on the vaccine type and where you are vaccinated.
Below we outlined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and private sector costs for some adult vaccines. Note that the prices may be highest due to additional fees at your testing location.
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Why Should Older Adults Get The Flu Shot
The flu shot is especially important for older adults because they tend to have weaker immune systems.
When the immune system isnt strong, it becomes harder for the body to fight off infections. Likewise, a weaker immune system can lead to flu-related complications.
Secondary infections that can develop with the flu include:
- ear infections
People ages 65 and older are at higher risk for serious complications. In fact, its estimated that as many as 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths occur in people ages 65 and older. Plus, up to 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occur in people ages 65 and older.
If you become ill after getting a vaccination, a flu shot may lessen the severity of symptoms of the illness.
Protecting yourself from the flu is increasingly important while COVID-19 is a factor.
Designation Of Health Care Surrogate For Minor
If the legal guardian of a child is unable to be present during the healthcare visit, guardians must complete a form to delegate care of their child to another adult.
UHealth Clinic at Walgreens is operated by the University of Miami Health System. The health care providers at UHealth Clinic at Walgreens are employed, contracted or affiliated with the University of Miami Health System or one of its subsidiaries. The health care providers are not employees, associates and/or agents of, or supervised by, Walgreen Co. or any Walgreens subsidiary or affiliated company. Licensed healthcare professionals treat patients 18 months and older and can prescribe medications when appropriate.
Please call 305-243-HELP if you have any problems, questions or comments.
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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 San Francisco Health Department offers convenient locations for members of the public to easily access free or low-cost flu vaccines.
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.
When Should I Get My Flu Shot
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone get the flu shot in September or October, before the start of the flu season. Experts suggest that adults over 65 and those with compromised immune systems wait until at least mid-September, so that the vaccines protection lasts the entire season.
But if you are young and healthy, if the flu shot is available in your area, I would suggest to get it now, said Dr. Jasmine Marcelin, an infectious disease physician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Dr. William Schaffner, the medical director for the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, said it was better to go early than not at all. And if you miss the recommended time frame, you should still go, since influenza cases typically reach their peak in February. Not every vaccine is a perfect match, and sometimes people still get sick even if they get a shot. But it will make your illness less severe, and make it less likely youll end up in the hospital, Dr. Schaffner said.
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Which Flu Vaccines Are Available At Walgreens
This year Walgreens is offering the following types of flu vaccines
- quadrivalent flu vaccines
- high dose flu vaccines designed to give a greater immune response for seniors over 65 years
Dont forget your insurance card, a photo ID to your appointment, and if you can to complete the assessment/consent form in advance, and which you can download and print out here.
How Effective Is The Flu Vaccine
The influenza viruses change every year which means that the vaccines do, as well. Experts do their best to match the vaccine to the strains circulating each season. If the match is a good one, the vaccine is typically 40 to 60 percent effective. Even if the vaccine doesnt protect you from getting sick, it will reduce your chances of becoming severely ill.
Experts arent sure why this is, but it probably is linked with the bodys immune reaction to the vaccine, according to a study published in 2018 in Eurosurveillance. Whatever the reason, thats good news, given that between 140,000 and 810,000 people are hospitalized each because of complications from the flu and you dont want to be one of them.
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Flu Shot Effectiveness Rate & Time Before It Takes Effect
I have often wondered how long it takes for a flu shot to take effect. According to the CDC, it generally takes about 2 weeks for the flu vaccine to protect you from catching the flu virus.
The flu shot effectiveness rate is widely disputed. There are many variables age, severity of a virus in a given season, new strains, unreported cases, and even effectiveness by manufacturer that make it hard to nail down an effectiveness rate. Ive seen effectiveness rates reported as anywhere from 40% to 90%.
Regardless of effectiveness rate, there is no risk in getting the flu from a flu shot, so sign me up. It is recommended that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu shot. And it is recommended that children between 6 months and 8 years of age get 2 shots per season.
What If I Dont Like Needles
Theres a nasal version of the flu vaccine. While past studies have found that method to be most effective for children, that guidance has changed in recent years. The nasal vaccine is now approved for people ages 2 to 49, unless they are pregnant or have certain medical conditions. And you should not get this type of treatment with a runny or congested nose, Dr. Marcelin said, because that can interfere with the delivery of the vaccine. The nasal spray is not as widely available Walgreens, for instance, does not carry it but you can request it from your doctor.
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Find A Flu Shot Location Near You
If you have a UnitedHealthcare health plan, you can get a flu shot at more than 50,000 locations.
Enter your ZIP code and select a pharmacy in your area, then select Find my flu shot to see results within a 20-mile radius from the center of your ZIP code.
Please note: If you’re using a screen reader, please select Participating pharmacies, then select a pharmacy to find a location near you.
The Flu Shot: What You Need To Know
Getting a flu shot each year is the best way to protect against the flu, and during COVID-19, a flu shot may be even more important.
Receiving a flu vaccine reduces the chance of flu-related doctor visits and hospitalizations, which can free up health care resources for others and protect vulnerable populations during the pandemic.
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So It Offers More Protection From The Flu
Exactly. A 2014 study published in The New England Journal of Clinical Medicine, which involved more than 30,000 adults aged 65 and older, found that participants who received the high-dose flu vaccine had 24% fewer flu illnesses compared to those who got the standard flu vaccine.
Another study, carried out during the 2013-2014 flu season and published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine in 2017, found that the high-dose flu shot was associated with a lower risk of hospital admissions compared with the regular flu shot in people age 65 and over. This was particularly true for those living in long-term care facilities.
Are There Delays In The Distribution Of Influenza Vaccine
Currently, influenza vaccine manufacturers are not reporting any expected delays in national flu vaccine supply or distribution this season.
Influenza vaccine production and distribution in the U.S. are primarily private sector endeavors. CDC encourages manufacturers and distributors to use a distribution strategy in which providers receive smaller shipments to allow as many providers as possible to begin vaccination activities early in the vaccination season. Ideally, the intervals between shipments are short so that each provider has a continuous supply and can continue vaccinating patients without interruption. While no important delays have been reported, in some places, robust demand for vaccine and supplies required to support flu vaccination efforts, like needles or syringes, may mean that some providers run out of vaccine or other supplies before their next shipment has arrived. An allocation system can initially limit the size of individual orders. However, as supplies become available in increasing numbers, supply is expected to catch up with demand. Additionally, because vaccine manufacturing has been extended to support the production of a record number of flu vaccine doses this year, providers are likely to receive more shipments throughout the season.
To make sure your provider has flu vaccine available, call ahead to confirm availability. There also may be other locations in your area that have vaccine available.
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How To Treat The Flu
There is no cure for the flu. In fact, antibiotics aren’t effective treatments for flu. This is because the flu is a virus and antibiotics only work against bacterial infections. Most people recover from the flu without needing to see their health care provider. Tried and true home remedies for the flu include getting plenty of rest and drinking enough fluids. Using over-the-counter flu medicine to address congestion, cough and fever can provide temporary relief of your symptoms.
In some cases, antiviral medications are prescribed for flu treatment. Antiviral flu medicines include oseltamivir , zanamivir , peramivir and baloxavir . When treatment is started within two days of becoming sick with flu symptoms, these medications can reduce the severity of the illness and duration by about one day, and may also lower the risk of flu complications, such as ear infections, pneumonia and hospitalizations. Antivirals are mostly prescribed to those who are severely ill or at high risk of serious flu-related complications. Still, even if you aren’t severely sick or not at high risk, your health care provider may prescribe an antiviral if you’ve been sick with the flu for fewer than 48 hours. Antiviral medications work best when started in this time frame. Discuss with your health care provider if an antiviral is right for you. Sometimes, health care providers may prescribe antivirals for prophylaxis of the flu.
What About Coronavirus Precautions
The C.D.C. has released safety guidelines for all health care providers. So as long as your provider is following these guidelines, it is safe to get your shot there. For example, Dr. Ban said, Walgreens has implemented rigorous cleaning protocols and is checking patients for symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Pharmacists who administer the shots wear both a face mask and a face shield, and patients are required to wear a mask.
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Who Should Not Get The Flu Vaccine
Children younger than 6 months are too young to receive a flu vaccine.
If you are interested in the influenza vaccine nasal spray, there are a few more things to know. Because it contains a live virus, you should not get the influenza nasal spray if you are pregnant, have a weakened immune system or are in close contact with persons who have a weakened immune system , or have taken an influenza antiviral medication within the last 48 hours.
Children and adolescents who receive aspirin or salicylate-containing medication should not receive the influenza nasal spray, nor should young children who have experienced an episode of wheezing in the last 12 months or who have been diagnosed with asthma. People with chronic health conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or diabetes should talk with their health care provider before receiving the influenza nasal spray.
How Much Does A Flu Shot Cost Without Insurance In 2021
The out-of-pocket cost for a flu shot is between $20 and $70. However, the price will vary depending on what kind of flu vaccine you receive. Most insurance companies will cover your flu shot at several pharmacies or urgent care facilities.
There are several types of flu shots that you may be able to get this year. The most common types of flu shots are the quadrivalent flu vaccine and the high-dose flu vaccine.
- The quadrivalent flu vaccine protects against four different flu viruses.
- The high-dose flu vaccine can be given to adults over 65 to create a more robust immune response and protection against flu viruses.
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Protection From The Flu
The seasonal flu vaccine is available at no cost to Aetna members who have benefits that cover preventive services.
The vaccine is available for adults and for children 6 months and older. Children aged 6 months through age 8 who have never had the vaccine or have only had one dose in their lifetimes should have two doses of the flu vaccine, with at least four weeks between doses.