Early fall is the best time to get vaccinated ahead of the upcoming flu season. And if you haven’t already, now is the time to get your COVID-19 vaccine as well. Vaccines are the most effective prevention measures against COVID-19 and the flu! But it is understandable that you may have some questions. Below are answers to some commonly asked questions.
Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
According to the CDC, American Medical Association and other health organizations, one of the most important things you can do is to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s what we currently know:
- The FDA fully approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (now known as Comirnaty) for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age or older. The vaccines Moderna and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson have FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for individuals age 18 and older. The CDC recommends children age 12 to 15 get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which has FDA EUA for this age group.
- Vaccines reduce a person’s risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19, including the Delta variant, which causes more infections and spreads faster than earlier forms of the virus.
- Vaccines are likely to keep you from getting severely ill or dying even if you do get COVID-19, and helps protect those around you from being infected and spreading the virus.
For updated, complete information about the COVID-19 vaccines, click here.
What about the flu shot?
While the timing, severity and length of the flu season is unpredictable, it’s common for new strains to emerge each year. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting an annual seasonal flu vaccine as the number one way to reduce the chances that you will get the flu and spread it to others.
Everyone age 6 months or older should be vaccinated for the flu annually. It’s especially important for people at higher risk, including young children, pregnant women, people age 65 and older, people with weakened immune systems or chronic illness, and caregivers for others who are at high risk.
Can I get my COVID vaccine at the same time as the flu shot?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that it is no longer necessary to wait between different vaccinations, so you can get both at the same visit or within a shorter time frame without concern. If you’d prefer to wait, check with your doctor about what is best for your situation. Just remember, the sooner you are vaccinated against both COVID-19 and the flu, the more likely you’ll stay healthy this winter.
Are these vaccines covered by insurance?
The COVID-19 vaccine is currently available at no cost through your state and/or local community. Even if you are un- or underinsured, there are no out-of-pocket costs to get vaccinated.
The flu vaccine is required to be covered by your health insurance, but there may be specific guidance on which type of vaccine is covered or where you can obtain your flu shot. For example, your insurance may prefer you get the shot through your provider or a pharmacy chain they have partnered with. Contact your insurance carrier to confirm before getting your shot.
If you are uninsured, check with your local health department before paying for a flu vaccine. They may have free or discounted vaccines available for those who qualify. Now is the time to protect yourself and your family from both the flu and COVID-19. If you have further questions, contact your doctor.