When You Should Get the Flu Vaccine This Year
For the past year and a half, much of the world’s focus has been on COVID-19. However, there is another respiratory illness that returns each year without fail—the flu. Although the flu typically isn’t as severe as COVID-19, it can still be life-threatening for children and the elderly as well as those with poor immune systems.
Even healthy individuals can get quite sick from the flu, causing them to miss work, have extended symptoms, and feel ill for weeks.
Fortunately, the flu vaccine helps decrease your likelihood of catching a severe case of the flu. Unlike with other vaccines, you need to get the flu shot each year for it to be effective. This is because the variations of the influenza virus that causes the flu are different each year.
Below, you’ll find some information on who should get the flu vaccine, what to expect, and why doing so this year is more important than ever.
Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine? According to the CDC, everyone older than six months should get the flu shot each year. Aside from age, the only exception to this rule is individuals who have an allergy to eggs and those who have had an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine in the past.
It is even more important for people who are immunocompromised to get the flu shot. This could prevent a life-threatening case of the flu if you were to get infected.
Moreover, anyone that works with a large number of people, including teachers, healthcare workers, and customer service employees should also get the flu shot.
Can I Get the Flu Shot and the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Currently, talks of a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine are circulating. In fact, the FDA has already cleared booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine for those who received their second shot at least six months ago and those who are older than 65.
This leaves many people wondering if they can get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.
In short, the answer is yes. Since the two vaccines are generating an immune response to two viruses, there isn’t a risk associated with getting them at the same time. In fact, doing so means you’ll only need to deal with the side-effects once. Currently, studies are examining whether getting both the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu shot at the same time decreases your immune response to either. At this time, however, the benefits seem to outweigh any potential drawbacks.
Can the Flu Shot Make You Sick?
Since the flu shot’s job is to help you build immunity against the influenza virus, it isn’t capable of making you sick. Both types of injectable flu vaccines (IIV4s and RIV4) are inactive. In other
words, there is no living flu virus in them. This means that they aren’t capable of making you sick—even if they cause mild side effects. Although the nasal spray variant of the flu vaccine contains a live virus, it also isn’t capable of making you sick. This is because the virus is attenuated, or made weaker, before it is administered.
Does the Flu Vaccine Protect Against COVID-19?
Unfortunately, the flu vaccine doesn’t also protect you from COVID-19. Since the influenza virus is different from the COVID-19 virus, neither vaccine provides protection against the other.
This means that you should be getting both the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine to stay safe as we head into fall and winter.
How to Stop the Spread of the Flu
While the vaccine does help protect you from the flu, there are plenty of ways to stop its spread. If everyone does their part, the annual flu outbreak will be much less severe. Here are some of the best (and easiest) ways to stop the spread of the flu.
- Get the flu shot
- Wash your hands frequently
- Sneeze and cough into your arm or a tissue
- Wear a mask in crowded areas, especially indoors
- Stay at home when you’re feeling sick
- Frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces
Velocity Urgent Care is Here to Help
At Velocity Urgent Care, the health of our community is very important to us. When you’re ready to get your flu shot this season, stop by one of our conveniently located clinics across Virginia. You can walk in or make an appointment ahead of time to get your vaccine.
If you’re not feeling well, our friendly, board-certified practitioners are also ready to get you back on your feet. We can perform lab tests on-site, prescribe medications, and even refer you to a specialist if you need more intense care.
So, whatever your flu-related needs are this fall and winter, Velocity Urgent Care has your back.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking serious safety precautions to ensure that our locations are as clean as possible. We’ve put strict sterilization protocols into place and are carefully handling patients who may be contagious to ensure that each one of our clinics is safe for those who need urgent medical care or occupational health services.
Velocity Urgent Care offers convenient online registration that helps you limit your contact with others during a visit. You can sign up for an appointment online ahead of time and arrive when it’s time to be seen to skip the waiting room. We even offer text message updates so you can wait in the car (if you prefer) until it’s time for your appointment.
Velocity Urgent Care is an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible. All of our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome. To find out more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.