Getting a flu shot is incredibly important, especially this year with COVID-19 in addition to the regular influenza virus present. The flu vaccine can help patients get immunity to the current versions of the virus and help rule out flu symptoms. Think you’re ready for flu season? Here’s everything you need to know about the flu shot.
Should I get a flu shot?
According to the CDC, every person older than six months of age should get a flu shot every season. Infants younger than six months should not receive the shot, nor should people with severe allergies to the flu vaccine or any of its ingredients. These might include gelatin, egg proteins, or antibiotics. Ask your provider about allergy information.
Will the flu shot protect me against other diseases?
The flu vaccine each year is made up of usually three to four different types of influenza viruses. The virus’s deactivated components in the vaccine encourage the body to identify the virus and create antibodies against it. However, only flu viruses will be affected by the flu shot; it will not protect patients against the common cold or COVID-19.
When should I get the flu vaccine?
Flu season begins when temperatures drop, so usually around September or October. This is a great time to get the flu vaccine because it gives your body plenty of time to develop antibodies that will protect you should you come into contact with the virus during the rest of the season. There is no need to get the vaccine earlier in the summer as it could reduce protection against the virus. You can get the vaccine all the way up through spring since flu season typically lasts until May.
What are my options?
Different providers may administer different versions of the vaccine, but there are a few standard options that you might see.
- Standard dose flu shots. Suitable for most patients.
- High dose flu shots. More suitable for elderly patients aged 65 and up.
- Shots made from a cell-culture-grown virus. These vaccinations do not use any egg proteins in the ingredients, so it is suitable for those with an egg allergy.
- Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). This vaccine is made with a weakened live virus, but it is given by a nasal spray instead of an injection.
Will there be delays this year?
Even with the presence of COVID-19, there will still be plenty of flu vaccine to go around this season. So far, no significant delays have been reported by the CDC. Still, there is a high demand for supplies like needles and syringes. Because of this, your location might experience a slight delay.
Where can I get a flu shot?
You can get your seasonal flu shot with your GP. If you don’t have a doctor you see regularly, walk-in urgent care centers are a great place to go to get the flu shot. They should be well-stocked and well-equipped to offer the vaccination to all incoming patients. If you haven’t yet gotten your flu shot for this season, go ahead and book one today with your urgent care center.