Yes. The Best Way to Protect Against the Flu Is to Get Vaccinated
Most of us think of the flu as an unpleasant—but not serious—illness. The fact is that 12,000-49,000 people will die from complications this flu season. Last year’s flu season was the worst in a decade, sending a million people to the hospital and killing thousands, including 172 children.
That’s why the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone, 6 months of age and older, get a flu shot, every year.
Why do I need a flu shot every year? The vaccine ingredients are updated every year to combat the changing strains of flu viruses that circulate. Plus, your body’s immunity declines, and the annual vaccine provides optimal protection.
Does the flu shot really work? Yes. The vaccine reduces your risk of getting the flu by 40%-60%, when the vaccine is well-matched to the circulating flu viruses.
Are there different kinds of flu vaccines? Yes. Standard “trivalent” vaccines protect against three flu viruses; “quadrivalent” vaccines protect against four. Plus, there are variations for people who are 65 or older, allergic to eggs, or pregnant. Ask your health care provider which vaccine is best for you.
Can I get still get the flu, even if I get a flu shot? Yes; the vaccine reduces your risk, but it’s not bullet proof. If you do get sick, the vaccine may make your illness milder and reduce your risk for hospitalization.
When should I get a flu shot? If possible, get a flu shot before flu season begins (October through May), but even if you get one as late as January, it will still provide protection. The vaccine is fully effective 2 weeks after it is administered.
Where can I get a flu shot, and how much will it cost? Get vaccinated at your doctor’s office or a participating Express Scripts retail pharmacy. Your Health Plan covers flu shots at 100% as a preventive care service, but you may have to pay a small administrative fee if you get one at your doctor’s office.
Learn more at flu.gov.