With cooler weather comes fall, and with fall comes the beginning of flu season. Protect your family now against this year’s flu virus and get vaccinated at one of our 65+ locations. Most insurances cover the cost of the vaccination – so it’s FREE! (If you are a self-pay patient, the standard dose for ages 6 months and older is $30, while the high-dose vaccine for seniors is $75 for self-pay patients). No appointment is needed, but online scheduling is available for your convenience, and most centers are open seven days a week. Click here to find a location near you.
WHAT IS THE FLU?
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. The flu can cause mild to severe illness. The best way to prevent the flu is with an annual flu shot.
WHAT TYPES OF FLU SHOTS ARE OFFERED?
Our urgent care centers offer the Fluzone Standard Dose Quadrivalent – for ages 6 months and older. We also offer a flu shot for those 65 years and older, called Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent.
WHO SHOULD GET A FLU SHOT?
Flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older who have no medical contradictions.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT FOR CHILDREN AND SENIORS TO GET A FLU SHOT?
The flu is more dangerous for children, seniors and those with chronic conditions, as there is potential for more complications due to still-developing and weaker immune systems.
Children 6 months through 8 years getting vaccinated for the first time, and those who have only previously gotten one dose of vaccine, should get two doses of vaccine this season. All children who have previously gotten two doses of vaccine (at any time) only need one dose of vaccine this season. The first dose should be given as soon as vaccines become available, and the second dose should be given at least 28 days after the first dose. The first dose “primes” the immune system; the second dose provides immune protection. Children who only get one dose but need two doses can have reduced or no protection from a single dose of flu vaccine.
If your child needs the two doses, begin the process early. This will ensure that your child is protected before influenza starts circulating in your community. It usually takes about two weeks after the second dose for protection to begin. Your healthcare provider can advise on how many doses a child should get.
Flu shots are especially important for people 65 years and older because they have weaker immune systems, which puts them at high risk of catching viruses and developing serious complications from them. There is a specially-formulated flu vaccination that should be requested for seniors.
WHO SHOULD NOT GET A FLU SHOT?
Children younger than 6 months are too young to receive a flu shot. People with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine (this might include gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients). The best way to protect those that cannot get a flu shot is to make sure caregivers and people around them are vaccinated.
Talk to your provider: If you have an allergy to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Talk to your provider if you have ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS).
IF I GET A FLU SHOT, AM I GUARANTEED NOT TO GET THE FLU?
Recent studies show vaccines reduce the risk of flu illness by about 50-60 percent among the overall population during seasons when circulating flu viruses are similar to the vaccine viruses. Even if you do contract flu, having had the vaccine will reduce the severity of symptoms.
CAN I GET SICK FROM THE FLU VACCINE?
The Quadrivalent vaccine cannot cause influenza illness, because the vaccine viruses used to make it are ‘inactivated’ (killed) or weakened.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS FROM THE FLU VACCINATION?
Side effects of most flu vaccines may include pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site, fever, fatigue, and muscle aches.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GET A FLU SHOT?
While the peak for influenza typically hits late December through March, the season can begin in October and last through May. While flu spreads every year, the timing, severity and length of the season varies from year to year. This year’s flu is expected to be more prevalent than last year’s. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated as soon as they are available.