September 20, 2021 Healthy Living

5 Common Questions About Getting a Flu Shot This Year

So many of us are thinking about our health these days. From the importance of regular checkups and screenings to focusing on our mental health and maintaining a positive outlook, our own health and well-being, and that of our loved ones, has been at the forefront lately, specifically due to the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the simplest ways to protect your health and well-being is to get your flu shot. Understandably, you might have some concerns and questions. Here are the answers to five common questions to keep in mind.

What are the similarities and differences between the flu and COVID-19?

Both can have varying levels of symptoms, ranging from no symptoms at all to severe symptoms that can leave you feeling at your worst. Common symptoms of both include a fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, body aches, and even headaches. Unlike the flu, symptoms of COVID-19 can include a change in or loss of smell or taste.

Both respiratory viruses can spread from person-to-person when you are in close contact with one another. This mainly occurs when people with either the flu or COVID-19 cough, sneeze, or talk within six feet of one another.

A key difference is that COVID-19 appears to have a “superspreading” effect – or the ability to spread quickly and easily to a large group more so than the flu. It also can cause more serious illness in some people. COVID-19 symptoms may also take more time to appear. Those who contract the virus may also be contagious for longer than someone who contracts the flu.

There are many more similarities and differences between the flu and COVID-19, but testing may be needed to determine your diagnosis.

What is the best way to protect myself from the both the flu and COVID-19?

Vaccines are a simple way to protect yourself and others this flu season. With so many different viruses and variants circulating, CDPHP is strongly encouraging members to receive both the COVID-19 and flu vaccine. You are able to receive both the COVID-19 and flu vaccine at the same time appointment, just make sure to call ahead of time to ensure your doctor or pharmacy can administer both.

You can also take steps to win the fight against the spread of both, such as social distancing six feet away from others whenever possible, washing your hands frequently, and wearing a face mask or covering in public.

What kind of protection is a flu shot giving me?

It’s important to point out that a flu shot won’t protect you against cases of COVID-19. It is, however, your best way to protect against the flu, and the symptoms that come with it. For some, the symptoms that come with the flu are worse, and can lead to serious complications. That could mean a trip to the hospital for treatment (estimates are that at least 410,000 people went to the hospital during the 2019-2020 flu season for treatment for the flu).

A flu shot can protect you against an unnecessary trip to the hospital for treatment of the flu – potentially during a time when hospitals are busy treating cases of COVID-19. 

Aren’t I putting myself at more risk by going somewhere to get a flu shot?

Here’s something to keep in mind. Doctor’s offices have put a number of safety protocols in place to make sure you stay safe when seeking the care – and in this case, the vaccine – you need to keep yourself healthy. If you are looking for another location to get your flu shot, remember that pharmacies and stores continue to have rules in place for social distancing and wearing face coverings whenever you visit their location.

Is it too late to get my flu shot?

As long as the flu virus is still circulating, you are at risk of being exposed and catching the flu. Getting your flu shot early can help keep you protected into the peak of flu season and beyond.

Get the facts about the flu, or find a location near you to get your flu shot today!

Elise Shaver
About the Author

Elise Shaver joined CDPHP® in February 2021 as a marketing communications coordinator and currently serves as communications specialist. A native of the Capital Region, Elise earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Siena College. She brings several years of experience in both the marketing and not-for-profit industry. Elise enjoys the outdoors, gardening, and spending time with her family.

2 Responses to “5 Common Questions About Getting a Flu Shot This Year”

  1. Norman Slagle

    I understand that there a 2 different flu shots available of different concentrations this season. Does CDPHP have any information on how these options differ?

    • Elise Shaver

      Hi, Norman – Thank you for reaching out with this question. There is a high-dose product that contains four times the antigen, the part of the vaccine that helps the body build up protection against the flu viruses. This is intended for patients 65 years of age and older, as it gives them a better immune response and therefore better protection against the flu. You can learn more about it here:

      This year, there are also more “strains” in the vaccine – in previous years, some vaccines contained three viruses and some contained four. All flu vaccines this year for the 2021-2022 season are what are called “quadrivalent,” meaning they contain four different flu viruses (two influenza A and two influenza B). Additional information about this is available here:

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