Stay Healthy With a Yearly Flu Shot
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic it is more important than ever to get your flu shot to help avoid complications or hospitalization due to contracting the flu.
Who should get a flu shot?
Everyone ages 6 months and older should get the seasonal flu shot each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people with the highest risk and in greatest need of a flu shot include adults 65 years of age and older, and people of any age with underlying medical conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes).
Where can you get a flu shot?
Tufts Medicare Preferred HMO plan members can get the flu shot in the following ways:
- Call your doctor to schedule an appointment to get your flu shot.
- If your doctor is unable to schedule you for a flu shot before the end of the year, we will cover flu vaccines given at certain retail clinics including:
- Any pharmacy in the Tufts Health Plan Medicare Preferred national network that can administer the vaccine. Look in your Provider Directory for location information.
- MinuteClinics within CVS pharmacy locations in Massachusetts. For location information, call Customer Relations or contact CVS Pharmacy.
- Town or school clinics: Just show your Tufts Health Plan member ID card and you'll pay no copay (contact participating flu clinics before attending to check on vaccine availability, and to confirm that they accept Tufts Health Plan). To find a public flu shot clinic, contact your city or town administrator. There is no charge when you show your member ID card, and you don’t need an appointment.
- For members receiving home health services: You are eligible to receive the seasonal flu vaccine in your home if you are currently receiving home health services at the time of your vaccine.
- If you get a flu shot at a clinic, remember to let your primary care physician (PCP) know.
How often do you need a flu shot?
The flu vaccine is only effective for that year’s flu season. The flu vaccine changes each year because the flu virus also changes slightly every year. Getting a flu shot each year as soon as possible offers the best protection.
Why is it important to get a flu shot?
The flu is often a more severe illness than the common cold, and can stress the body with fever, vomiting, body aches, fatigue, and other symptoms. If you have a chronic illness (such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease), or take a medication that lowers your immunity, your body may have difficulty recovering from the flu. Adults older than age 65 are at higher risk for serious complications if they get the flu. Even among healthy older people, the flu can result in heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia, and other serious illnesses. For the most up to date information on the flu vaccine please visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website.
Does the flu shot really work?
Research has shown getting a flu shot each year is the best way to protect yourself from the flu. Remember, it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to provide protection, so the earlier in the flu season you get the vaccine the better.
Can you get the flu from a flu vaccine?
No, the flu vaccine contains influenza viruses that have been killed and cannot cause the flu.
Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about getting a flu shot.
What else should you do to avoid the flu?
In addition to the flu shot, the recommendations to help avoid COVID19 – frequent handwashing, social distancing, wearing a mask when near other people – will also help you avoid catching the flu.
More resources from our Health Library:
- Flu Vaccine Myths
- Flu Vaccines: Should I Get a Flu Vaccine?
- Flu: Signs of Bacterial Infection
- Heart Failure: Avoiding Colds and Flu