What you need to know about the influenza vaccine this year
Although most of the nation’s focus is on COVID-19, it is important to remember that seasonal influenza still exists and will be upon us once again.
Will the seasonal “flu shot” protect me from COVID-19?
No. The seasonal influenza vaccine will not provide protection against COVID-19. Please continue to practice COVID-19 safety precautions like wearing your mask, social distancing and regular hand washing, even after receiving the seasonal flu shot. It is recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccination if you haven’t already been immunized against it. Influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations can both be given at one visit.
When should I get a flu shot?
Influenza season generally begins in November and ends in March. It is best to get your flu shot in October or November so the protection offered by the vaccine carries you through to the end of flu season. Getting the vaccine too soon in the season may leave you unprotected in the later months.
What types of vaccine are available this year?
The injection is the quadrivalent flu vaccine, which is designed to protect against four different flu viruses; two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses, and is for ages 6 months to 49 years. Flublok, for ages 50-64 years and High Dose, for ages 65+, also protect against four different flu viruses. Flu mist is not available.
Who should get a flu shot?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends all people 6 months and older should receive the flu vaccine. It is especially important for pregnant women to get vaccinated because of their increased risk for influenza-related complications. Pregnant women can get vaccinated during any trimester, including the first. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu.
How will flu shots be given this year?
With COVID-19 precautions still in place at Winneshiek Medical Center, it is important to limit the number of people in the facility. 2021 influenza vaccines will be available only through a scheduled appointment. (If you have a scheduled appointment for another reason, you may also get a flu shot at that time.) Flu vaccine charges will be submitted to your insurance. For more information or to request an appointment for your influenza vaccine from Winneshiek Medical Center, call 563-382-2911.