Flu Shot

The flu is still a huge threat to our health. Every year, the flu shot is updated to protect you from any new strands of flu virus.  That’s why it’s vital to get your flu shot every year. The good news is, the flu shot is safe, easy to get, and free!

Common Flu Shot Questions 

Why should I get the flu shot?

The flu shot helps protect you from getting infected with the flu virus. The flu virus is also known as influenza. Influenza is a serious respiratory infection that affects your breathing. It can lead to hospitalization or even death for people who are at high risk for health-related issues.


Is the flu shot safe?

The flu shot has a long history of being safe. The flu shot was first introduced over 60 years ago. It was then tested on thousands of people in clinical trials. The flu shot was only approved for the public after it passed strict safety standards.

Millions of people all over the world have gotten the flu shot without having any issues. Also, scientific research organizations continue to make sure it’s safe for the public.

If you have any concerns, talk to your provider. You can also read the CDC’s flu shot safety information.

How does the flu shot work?

The flu shot works by telling your body to make antibodies. Antibodies help our body fight infections. The flu shot helps our bodies make these cells against the flu virus. These antibodies are made about two weeks after getting the flu shot. They help to protect you against the flu viruses. You may have a mild fever and chills as your body makes antibodies. These side effects are normal. They are not flu-related. The flu shot does not ‘give’ you the flu.

There are many types of flu shots. The CDC has up-to-date information on which flu shots are available each flu season.

Who should get the flu shot?

Most people six months of age or older should get the flu shot every year. The flu shot is most vital if you fall within a high-risk group. You may be more prone to having serious health-related issues or dying from the flu if you’re in a high-risk group.

You are high-risk if:

  • You’re 65 years of age or older.
  • You’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
  • You live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility.
  • You have a chronic condition like asthma, diabetes, or COPD.

Even if you don’t fall into these categories, you should still get the flu shot. The flu shot is just as important if you live with or care for someone who’s in a high-risk group.

When should I get my flu shot?

The best time to get your flu shot is the beginning of flu season. Flu season can start as early as September and can go through May. This is a peak time for the flu to spread. The earlier you get your flu shot, the better.

Where can I get the flu shot?

You can get your free flu shot from your primary care provider (PCP). You can also get a flu shot at any local pharmacy near you. Find one using our online Find a Pharmacy tool.

Don’t have a PCP?

Use our online Find a Doctor tool. Enter your address after choosing Location at the top of the page. This will pull up providers who are accepting new patients near you.

Flu vs. COVID-19: What’s the Difference?

COVID-19 and the flu are both contagious respiratory illnesses. But COVID-19 is caused by a different virus than the flu. COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-COV-2 virus. The flu is caused by the Influenza A and Influenza B viruses. The symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are similar:

It can be hard to know which virus you have based on the symptoms. That’s why you should get tested to help confirm a diagnosis.

Talk to your provider or care coordinator for more help. You can also visit the COVID-19 Member Resource Center.

Flu Shot Resources

Flu Information for Parents
Different Types of Flu Vaccines
How Flu Vaccines Are Made
Flu Impact Last Flu Season
Flu Shot & Pregnancy