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The Flu Vaccine Is Extra Important This Year

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The Flu Vaccine Is Extra Important This Year

Handling flu season during COVID-19

The flu vaccine is a fast and easy way to lower your risk of catching the flu. It also helps make symptoms less severe if you do happen to get the flu.

The Flu and COVID-19

The flu is never something to play around with, but this year it’s extra important that we all get our vaccine. That’s because, like COVID-19, the flu is a serious virus that can lead to hospitalization and death. This is especially true for the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

Everyone is working hard right now to combat COVID-19. We can all help lower added stress from flu season by getting our vaccine. Here are some things to think about:

Symptoms of COVID and the flu can be very similar.
Fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, headache, and fatigue can happen with either virus. That means you might be more likely to head to the ER out of fear of COVID, even if you’d normally stay home to recover. 

But having both flu and COVID patients would overwhelm our hospitals.
Plus, patients could spread the viruses to each other in the ER. And we don’t yet know about the risk of getting COVID and the flu at the same time.

Who gets the vaccine, and when?

Nearly everyone over 6 months old is eligible for the flu vaccine. If you’re unsure, talk to your doctor.

Flu season begins in October and peaks between December and February. But it’s important to start thinking about getting your vaccine early. Experts recommend that young and healthy people start getting their vaccine in September. People who are older and have weakened immune systems can start in October. Everyone is recommended to get their vaccine by the end of October.

If you don’t manage to get your vaccine by October, it’s not too late! You can get a flu vaccine at any point in the winter and it will help protect you. Just remember, it takes two weeks for the vaccine to start fully working.

There are more options than ever

It’s understandable to be nervous about a trip to the pharmacy or doctor’s office right now. Fortunately, healthcare providers are creating lots of safe options for people to get the flu vaccine. You may be able to get your vaccine outdoors, or in an office with special social distancing rules.

If you’re looking for a place to get your vaccine, check out this free locator. Just search with your address to find a location near you. You can call ahead of time to learn about social distancing precautions they’re taking.

Remember, flu vaccine is usually free with insurance. And you cannot get the flu from the vaccine. So it’s a low cost, low risk choice that keeps us all safer.

References:

Kaiser Health News. COVID + Influenza: This Is a Good Year to Get a Flu Shot, Experts Advise

NPR. 2020 Flu Shot Strategy: Get Yours Early In The Season

Vaccine Finder. Vaccine Finder

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