There are many misconceptions about the flu vaccine, including the idea that you don’t need to worry about it until winter. Flu season varies from year to year and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting vaccinated as soon as the shot is available.
Flu season usually begins in October and can end as late as May, and it peaks around January. That’s why it’s important to get the flu shot sooner rather than later. Once you get the vaccine, it takes about two weeks to become effective while your body develops antibodies to protect you from the virus. People who choose to wait to get the vaccine go unprotected and put themselves and those around them at risk.
Who should get vaccinated?
The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months old and older should get a flu shot every year. There are very few exceptions. Those with severe or life-threatening allergies to the vaccine or any of its ingredients shouldn’t get the flu shot.
People who should talk to their doctor before getting the flu shot:
- People who have an allergy to eggs or other vaccine ingredients
- People who’ve ever had Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)
- People who are feeling ill
If you have any questions or concerns about receiving the vaccination, talk to your doctor.
How Much Does It Cost?
Depending on your insurance and where you go, flu shots vary in price but are usually in the $20-40 range. Many insurance plans will cover the flu shot as a preventive service, but make sure to check with your insurance and the facility you go to. You may also be able to find a community flu shot clinic near you that provides free shots.
NO, The Flu Shot Does NOT Give You the Flu
Some flu shots contain a deactivated virus, others don’t contain a virus at all, and neither can give you the flu.
Some people may experience soreness or redness at the injection site. Other reactions following a flu shot are usually mild and can include a low-grade fever and aches. If these reactions occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1-2 days. Any discomfort experienced is far less severe than contracting the flu.