Flu Shot

The COVID-19 pandemic is still going on, but there is another virus to guard against: the flu. Like COVID-19, the flu (influenza virus) is a respiratory illness that’s a big health risk. Thousands of people die, are hospitalized or become severely ill with the flu every year.

To take your best shot at being STRONGER THAN the flu, everyone age six months and older should get a flu shot each year. The flu shot is very effective at preventing serious illnesses.

Flu season starts in early fall and can last until April or May, with the peak happening in wintertime, as colder weather means more time spent indoors where the virus can spread. Health officials recommend getting a flu shot by the end of October for the best protection from the virus as winter months approach. But, if you missed getting your flu shot in October, you should still get it as soon as you can.

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone six months of age and older get a flu shot.
  • It’s especially important that young children, pregnant women, adults 60+ years old and anyone who has chronic medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease or asthma gets a flu shot. These groups are at a higher risk for severe complications from the flu.
  • The flu shot is widely available at pharmacies, clinics and doctors’ offices statewide.
  • Most health plans, Medicare and Medicaid plans cover the annual flu shot for $0 or very low cost. To find out how the flu shot is covered on your health plan, contact Customer Service at the number on your ID card.
  • You cannot get the flu from the vaccine. It’s common to have side effects like tiredness, achiness, low fever or arm soreness after your shot. These symptoms are mild and typically only last a day or two. Severe side effects or allergic reactions from a vaccine are very, very rare. If you’re concerned, or if you’ve had a reaction to a vaccine before, ask your healthcare provider for guidance.  

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season.

The flu shot. It's an inactivated vaccine (contained killing virus). The shot is approved for use in people 6 months of age and older, including health people, people with chronic medical conditions and pregnant women.

The nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended for use during 2016-17 because of concerns about its effectiveness.