When and Why to Get a Flu Shot

Posted in: Employee Benefits

Fall is here, and with itthe risk of contracting influenza will increase. With the flu and COVID-19 prevalent this season, it makes it significantly important to receive both the influenza and COVID-19 vaccine. 

Are flu shots safe?

Yes. Flu shots are very safe. Millions of adults receive the vaccine every year. And no, you will not get the flu from the vaccine. The vaccines either contain an inactivated virus (meaning no longer infectious) or a particle designed to look like a flu virus to your immune system. The nasal spray flu vaccine does contain a live virus; however, the viruses are changed so that they cannot give you the flu. With this said, you may experience mild side effects, but these side effects are minor compared to contracting the actual flu. 

How is the safety of the flu vaccine monitored?

The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closely monitor the safety of vaccines approved for use in the United States.

Do we need to get a flu shot earlier this year?

The CDC recommends getting vaccinated in the fall. Getting a flu shot in August is too early because it could result in reduced protection against infection later in the flu season, especially for those of advanced age. 

While you don’t need to get a flu shot early, make sure you get one. It’s best to be vaccinated in September or October, but if you don’t get a flu shot then, it’s never too late to get the vaccine as long the flu virus is circulating in your community. The reason it’s recommended not to wait until later in the flu season is because the flu shot does not protect you instantaneously. Once you’ve received the vaccine, your body needs about two weeks to develop the desired antibodies. 

Is the flu shot covered by my health plan?

Yes, the flu shot is covered fully by your health plan. You can visit your Primary Care Doctor or a freestanding center to receive your vaccine. Check with your insurance carrier for a list of such centers. 

In order to do everything in your power to protect yourself and others from the spread of the influenza virus, it’s essential to get a flu shot timely. If you have questions about the content of this blog, feel free to contact me at dherndon@psafinancial.com. Please also visit our COVID-19 Business Resources for relevant updates and educational materials regarding COVID-19.