Flu shot facts: Influenza and COVID-19
We’ve had a lot on our minds the last few months. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives everywhere, and communities across the globe are focused on protecting themselves and others. With all that’s going on, getting a flu shot may have gotten lost in the shuffle.
More important than ever
Last flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated there were between 17.3 million and 20.1 million flu-related medical visits. This year, there’s a new twist.
The flu and COVID-19 are circulating together. While there are similarities between the two viruses, there’s one huge difference. There’s a safe and effective vaccine to protect against the flu—and now is the time to get it.
“There has never been a more important year to get the flu vaccination,” said Mark Mariani, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Indigo Urgent Care.
“COVID-19 prevention measures like frequent handwashing, wearing masks and social distancing may help reduce the number of flu cases this year, but the risks of getting influenza will still exist. Getting the flu vaccine could prevent or reduce the possibility of having to deal with two infections and some serious medical complications.”
Flu shot FAQ: Busting the myths
Flu vaccines have been around for years, along with a boatload of myths and misconceptions about them. It’s important to sort fact from fiction to ensure everyone gets the protection they need from a dangerous, though preventable, virus.
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers that help dispel some common flu vaccine fallacies.
Do healthy people need the vaccine?
Healthy or not, you're still at risk of catching the flu and dealing with its serious symptoms. It’s particularly important that people who have chronic illnesses get flu shots. With rare exceptions, the CDC recommends everyone older than 6 months of age, including pregnant women, get yearly flu vaccinations.
Can I get the flu from a flu shot?
No. This is a common misconception. Flu vaccines are made from an inactivated virus that cannot transmit infection.
For some, there may be some mild side effects, like a low-grade fever, soreness at the injection site or body aches that may last a day or two. As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance the flu vaccine may cause a serious problem such as an allergic reaction.
Keep in mind that it may take up to two weeks after getting the flu shot for the body to develop immunity, leaving a window for people to still get sick
Do I need a flu vaccine every year?
Absolutely. Flu viruses are constantly changing, and the vaccination is reviewed every year and frequently updated. Also, your immune protection from a flu shot declines over time. A yearly vaccination renews that protection.
Shouldn’t I wait to get vaccinated so my immunity lasts through the end of flu season?
The flu can start to spread as soon as late September or early October, so it’s important to get your flu shot by the end of October. You’ll still be protected throughout the winter months.
Isn’t November too late to get vaccinated?
November or beyond, as long as the flu sticks around, you’re still susceptible. While the season tends to peak between December and March, it can sometimes last into late May.
If you have additional questions or concerns about flu shots, call your doctor or the medical professionals at Indigo Urgent Care.
COVID-19 changes the landscape
Flu season is a challenge any given year, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, this year is even more complex. Here are some important things to be aware of:
How and where to get the flu vaccine might look a little different. The CDC is working with health care providers and state and local health departments to determine the best way to provide flu vaccines without increased risk of exposure to coronavirus.
For instance, if you typically get a flu shot at your workplace, that may not be an option this year. All Indigo locations offer flu shots for adults 19 and older. We’ve put COVID-19 safety precautions in place to ensure you get the protection you and your loved ones need this flu season.
A flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19. Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses that share similar symptoms, but they are caused by two separate viruses.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus, so it’s important to continue taking steps to protect yourself and those around you. Wash hands often, wear a mask and practice social distancing. There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccination will increase your risk of getting sick from COVID-19.
You can have COVID-19 and the flu, or other respiratory illnesses, at the same time. And that can create a serious and complicated medical scenario. You may not be able to protect yourself against both viruses, but you can protect yourself against one of them.
Quick and easy: Get your flu shot now at Indigo
For adults 19 and older, the flu vaccine is now available at Indigo Urgent Care. All Indigos are open every day from 8 am to 8 pm. Simply walk in to one of our convenient locations and our friendly staff will get you vaccinated and on your way.
Most health insurance plans fully cover the cost of the vaccine. If you have insurance, we are required to bill it. If you do not have insurance coverage, the price is $38. The self-pay cost for the high-dose flu vaccine, typically recommended for people 65 and older who may have weaker immune systems, is $115.
Don’t let the flu get you down this year. Get your flu shot today!