Who Should Get A Flu Shot This Year
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine each year, with very rare exceptions. The flu shot is especially beneficial for people who have a higher risk of developing complications from the flu. Examples include:
Adults 65 and older
Children 2 years old and younger
People with chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease, and diabetes
People who have weakened immune systems, like those with cancer or HIV
People who are pregnant
The CDC recommends getting the flu shot in to get the most benefit from the vaccine. The vaccine needs about 2 weeks to fully take effect, and it lasts about 6 months covering the length of a typical flu season. Even if you miss the September-to-October window, getting the vaccine anytime during the flu season can still help protect you.
And no, the flu shot wont give you the flu. It can help protect you from getting the flu, but its not 100% effective. So, theres still a possibility that you can get the flu after you get the vaccine. However, the flu shot can help keep your symptoms from becoming severe if you happen to get the flu.
The flu is a serious infection. Its estimated that up to 810,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized each year from the flu, and as many as 61,000 people die from it.
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 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
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Pharmacies And Grocery Stores
Ever since the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, pharmacists in all 50 states have been granted the ability to give annual flu vaccines . Getting your shot there will be free with most US insurance, and run you about $40 without coverage.
Pharmacies are no longer stand-alone buildings many are now in convenience and grocery stores, including CVS, Walgreens, and Rite-Aid. Grocery stores that offer shots include Albertsons, Raleys, Ralphs, Safeway, and Kroger. And some big box stores have them too, like Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Vons, and Costco.
To reduce your potential exposure to Covid-19, check if you can make a pharmacy appointment ahead of time, so youre not waiting inside any longer than you have to. If a store or pharmacy is low on stock, see if you can get yourself on a waiting list. Its also worth checking what the mask-wearing guidelines are within the establishment as of July, most of these stores have mandated mask-wearing across the US regardless of state regulations, but youll know your community best.
Flu Vaccines And Covid
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation advises that COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered with an influenza vaccine if required. Trials have demonstrated that co-administration of COVID-19 and influenza vaccine raises no safety concerns and preserves the immune response to both vaccines. Co-administration can result in a higher frequency of mild to moderate adverse events and can make it harder to attribute potential adverse events to specific vaccines. It is important to advise your patient that it is more likely that they may experience common adverse effects and to report any adverse events.
Influenza vaccines can be given on the same day with a COVID-19 vaccine.
Read Also: When Are You Supposed To Get Your Flu Shot
When Should You Get The Flu Vaccine
The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial even into January or later. Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.
If You Live Outside The Us
At the moment, Europe is one of the other regions in the world that risks having a twindemic, or outbreak of influenza during a Covid-19 surge.
Usually, there isnt as big a push to get flu vaccines outside of the US. Countries like the UK abide by WHOs recommendations of who should get a flu vaccine. Generally, these include children and older adults, who are more likely to have complications from the flu pregnant people people who work in healthcare and people who have other health conditions that make them more vulnerable.
In the UK, vaccines are available at doctors offices through the National Health Service, although it requires you to make an appointment . The European Union has adopted a broad framework for making sure that roughly 75% of vulnerable groups get annual flu jabs, but how they carry that out varies country to country usually vaccines are available for free or reduced cost depending on the healthcare available to residents, but making an appointment at a doctors office is a good idea to make sure the vaccine is actually available.
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Flu Vaccine Could Cut Covid Risk
People in Santiago are vaccinated against influenza.Credit: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters/Alamy
Influenza vaccines have a surprising health benefit: they might also prevent COVID-19, particularly in its most severe forms.
A study of more than 30,000 health-care workers in Qatar found that those who got a flu jab were nearly 90% less likely to develop severe COVID-19 over the next few months, compared with those who hadnt been recently vaccinated against flu.
The study, which was conducted in late 2020, before the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, is in line with previous work suggesting that ramping up the immune system using influenza vaccines and other jabs could help the body to fend off the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
What To Expect At A Drive
Most drive-through flu shot clinics will be set up with a similar series of stations. Heres what you can generally expect:
Many clinics will have signs posted across the clinic campus or parking lot, directing you to drive to the location where you need to line up.
While you stay in your car, a clinic team member will ask you a series of screening questions. Theyll also likely check your temperature.
A clinic team member will then verify your information and insurance, and take any paperwork youve filled out. If you dont have insurance, this will be when you pay for your flu shot. Then theyll direct you to the next station.
A healthcare professional like a pharmacist, nurse, or another healthcare professional will review your flu form and provide you your flu shot. They may ask you to open your car door for easier access, especially if you or someone else in your car has difficulty with vaccines.
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Everyone 6 Months And Older Should Get The Flu Shot
The flu shot is your best defence against the flu. The flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.
It can save lives by:
- protecting you, if you’re exposed to the virus
- preventing you from getting very sick
- protecting people close to you:
- because you’re less likely to spread the virus
- who are at higher risk of serious flu complications if they get the flu
The flu shot wont protect you against COVID-19.
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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Vaccine Supply And Distribution
How much influenza vaccine is projected to be available for the 2021-2022 influenza season?
Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, so supply depends on manufacturers. Vaccine manufacturers have projected that they will supply the United States with as many as 188 million to 200 million doses of influenza vaccine for the 2021-2022 season. These projections may change as the season progresses. All flu vaccines for the 2021-2022 season will be quadrivalent . Most will be thimerosal-free or thimerosal-reduced vaccine and about 18% of flu vaccines will be egg-free.
Where can I find information about vaccine supply?
Special Consideration Regarding Egg Allergy
People with egg allergies can receive any licensed, recommended age-appropriate influenza vaccine that is otherwise appropriate. People who have a history of severe egg allergy should be vaccinated in a medical setting, supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions. Two completely egg-free flu vaccine options are available: quadrivalent recombinant vaccine and quadrivalent cell-based vaccine.
Get Your Annual Flu Shot
For most people, getting the flu means getting sick usually for about a week. But for some people, the flu can be deadly. In the United States, the flu kills tens of thousands of people per year.
Flu vaccination has important benefits. It can reduce flu illnesses, doctors visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
So protect yourself and your loved ones: get a flu shot so you dont pass it on to people who are more vulnerable than you are.
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Side Effects From The Flu Vaccine
- Side effects are if you feel sick from your vaccine.
- Common side effects are usually mild.
- They tend to get better quickly without needing treatment.
- Common side effects are mild pain and swelling at the injection site.
- Fever is less common.
- It is not possible for the flu vaccine to give you the flu.
- There is no live virus in the vaccines used in Australia.
- If you have any concerns or questions about the flu vaccine, please discuss with your GP.
When Do I Need To Get The Flu Shot
The ideal time to get vaccinated is before flu season starts and before the flu begins spreading in your community, Konrad told CNET.
The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, but getting vaccinated later in the season can still protect you. Many pharmacies and doctor’s offices begin offering flu shots as early as the beginning of September.
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Are Flu Vaccines And Covid
No, the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccines use different methods to protect you. All these types of vaccine are safe and effective.
A flu vaccine uses an inactivated form of the flu virus to tell your body to make antibodies that will protect you from getting sick if you get exposed to the flu virus again.
The Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines, which tell your body to make a protein that then produces antibodies. These antibodies help protect you from the virus that causes COVID-19. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a virus vector, different from the COVID-19 virus, that cannot replicate in the human body. The virus vector delivers a protein code that tells your immune system to make antibodies, which then protect you from COVID-19.
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
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In Addition To Finding Drive
Getting vaccinated is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu. But just as with COVID-19, you can take basic steps to further avoid picking up or passing germs to others. You can remember these as the 3Ws:
Wear a face mask.
Watch your distance.
Wash your hands often.
Though its possible to get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, we dont have a clear understanding of how both could affect a persons health. The combination of flu and coronavirus could prove to be very challenging for people with a higher risk of getting serious complications from respiratory illnesses. A bad flu season on top of COVID-19 could also impact our available healthcare resources and increase the number of people who get sick and die. Make plans to get your flu shot and spread the word.
People At High Risk Of Complications From The Flu
- people with health conditions, such as:
- cancer and other immune compromising conditions
- kidney disease
- neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions
- children up to 18 years of age undergoing treatment for long periods with acetylsalicylic acid
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Health Services Including Influenza Vaccines
Enter your details below and select which services you are enquiring about to find your nearest participating community pharmacy. You can book your flu vaccine online today or simply discover the wide range of services your local community pharmacy is offering.
Flu vaccines available Australia-wide.
Annual vaccination is the most important measure to prevent influenza and its complications. It is recommended for all people aged 6 months and over . Influenza vaccines are given each year to protect against the most common strains of the virus. If you’re eligible, you can get the influenza vaccine for free under the National Immunisation Program .
Why is flu vaccination important?
Influenza is a very contagious infection of the airways. It affects people of all ages. Although it can be a mild disease, it can also cause very serious illness in otherwise healthy people. It can require hospitalisation and can cause death.
Vaccination is a way to protect you from serious disease caused by influenza. By getting vaccinated against the flu, you can also help protect other people, especially those who are too sick or young to be vaccinated. The more people who are vaccinated in your community, the less likely the disease will spread.
Getting your flu shot at your community pharmacy is easy and convenient, and you can be confident in your local community pharmacists skills and ability, as they must complete appropriate training before they can administer flu shots.