This year, it’s more important than ever that you protect yourself and your family from the flu, which can be serious and even deadly. Health care providers like AltaMed and other public health agencies are trying to prevent a twindemic: cases of the flu and COVID-19 spiking at the same time, which could put a strain on hospitals and result in many more people being sick.
We’ve compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about why you and your entire family need to get your shots.
I’m Usually Healthy! Do I Need to Get a Vaccine?
All the vitamin supplements in the world won’t protect you from the flu. Why risk four to six days of high fever, sore throat, body aches, and other symptoms that will limit your ability to go to work or attend school? If you do get the flu even after receiving the vaccine, the shot can help you avoid more severe complications such as pneumonia, ear infections, or sinusitis.
It’s also critical for those in regular contact with children under the age of 6 months and those with chronic illness to get vaccinated to reduce the household's risk of illness.
Won’t Getting a Flu Shot Make Me Sick?
The vaccine does not infect a person with influenza. The vaccine works by helping your body’s immune system recognize the virus so that it can create a defense (antibodies) that will fight the flu.
If I Have a Cold, Can I Still Get a Flu Shot?
A cold can’t stop you from getting your flu shot! However, your primary care provider won’t give you the vaccine if you have a high fever and are experiencing respiratory symptoms. Your immune system won’t be strong enough to create the antibodies it needs to protect you against the flu.
Will the Flu Shot Protect Me from COVID-19?
The flu vaccine won’t protect you against colds, pneumonia, or COVID-19.
The flu is not a severe cold or pneumonia, even though symptoms can be similar – in fact, it can also be hard to tell the difference between COVID-19, allergies, and the flu.
When you ask your health care provider for a flu shot, you will get vaccine the protects you from the influenza virus.
I Saw a Facebook Post that Said that COVID-19 Germs Have Been Added to this Year’s Flu Vaccine. Is that True?
Absolutely not. This year’s flu vaccine contains only the inactivated strains of influenza that are expected to be most prevalent this flu season. It does not have the COVID‐19 virus. Be careful where you get your news about COVID-19 and the flu!
How Soon Should I Get My Flu Shot?
ASAP! The flu vaccine will not prevent COVID-19, but we are trying to prevent a large flu outbreak while we still don’t have the pandemic fully under control. Also, having the flu could weaken your respiratory system, which could put you at additional risk for COVID-19 – though, we want to be perfectly clear: the flu vaccine will not protect you from COVID-19.
You can make an appointment to get your flu shot at AltaMed. We have many procedures in place to keep staff and patients safe. There are also many other places to get your flu shot.
And here’s some good news: wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and all of the other actions we’ve been taking to stop the spread of COVID_19 will help to keep you safe from the flu.
Is It Possible to Have the Flu and COVID-19 at the Same Time?
Yes, it is. Even though we still don’t have a vaccine for COVID-19, you can get a safe, effective flu shot right now,
What about Side Effects from a Flu Shot?
The most common side effects are soreness around the injection area, redness, nausea, and muscle aches, which usually pass in a couple of days. Children may be scared of getting a shot, but it’s very important for them to receive their immunizations – one pinch and it’s done!
Why Does the Vaccine Change from Year to Year?
The vaccine changes every year because the virus changes every year. This makes it difficult for our body to detect the virus in time, and we end up getting sick. Thanks to technology and the study of viruses, scientists can try to predict what the virus will look like for the upcoming flu season.
Sometimes the virus changes too quickly and the rate of protection can be lower than expected. It has been proven year after year that the vaccine is a great tool to prevent complications and even reduce mortality rates in all age groups.
Get Your Free Shots at AltaMed!
Get vaccinated today against the virus at your nearest AltaMed medical center to protect yourself and your family. To schedule a flu shot, please call (888) 499-9303. See hours and locations for clinics near you.