Heading into cold and flu season, what can you do to protect yourself from infection, stay healthy and live life boldly? One of the best things you can do is get your flu shot each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend getting it during September or October. The ApexHealth team knows that there are some common misconceptions surrounding the necessity and safety of the vaccine, so let’s bust some common myths about the flu vaccine ahead of flu season.
Myth #1: The flu isn’t serious, so I don’t need the vaccine
You may think that the flu isn’t anything to be worried about and that you don’t need to get the vaccine. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most people recover in a few weeks, but the flu can cause complications. For some people, the flu could lead to sinus and ear infections, pneumonia or heart inflammation. As we get older, our immune system weakens, so it’s important to get the flu vaccine to stay safe from infection.
Myth #2: Getting the flu shot will give me the flu
Another common misconception is that the flu vaccine can give you the flu instead of protecting you from it. The CDC explains that flu vaccines are made with an inactive virus which cannot cause illnesses. If you are worried about getting the flu, getting the flu shot is the best way to avoid it.
Myth #3: Getting the flu shot will make it more likely that I’ll get a respiratory infection or COVID-19
Just as the flu vaccine cannot actually give you the flu, scientists from the CDC have refuted any claims that the flu vaccine makes you more susceptible to other infections like COVID-19. In fact, it is recommended to get vaccinated for both the flu and COVID-19.
Myth #4: You don’t need to get the flu shot every year
While some vaccines are a one-time event, the flu vaccine requires a yearly dose. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older with rare exceptions. You should get the flu vaccine each year by October to maximize your protection from the virus. If you have any questions about whether or not you should get the flu shot each year, ask your doctor or healthcare provider.
Myth #5: Flu shots are not safe
Both the CDC and WHO explain that flu vaccines have a good safety record. Health problems from the vaccine are extremely rare. Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions about the safety of recommended vaccines.
Where can I get my flu shot?
There are a few ways to get your flu shot. Your primary care provider (PCP) can help you schedule a flu shot, or you may also be able to get the vaccine at your local drugstore, urgent care clinic, or public health department. Find specific locations for your zip code using the vaccine finder tool.
If you’re an ApexHealth member who needs to schedule your vaccine, we’re here to help! Use our online tool to find a pharmacy near you, and don’t forget to ask your ApexAssistant for help scheduling an appointment or answering questions.
Medicare coverage for flu shots
Original Medicare covers one influenza (flu) vaccine per season under its Part B benefit. A Medicare Advantage plan covers all immunization services that are included under Medicare Part B. For more information on immunizations and how Medicare can help provide coverage for vaccines, check out our previous blog.
We hope that this information answers some of your questions about the flu vaccine heading into cold and flu season. For more information on the seasonal flu, talk to your doctor or visit Atrium Health’s website for more information.
If you’d like to talk to an ApexAssistant, give us a call at (844) 279-0508 (TTY: 711). Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (local time) from Apr. 1 through Sept. 30 and seven days a week 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (local time) from Oct. 1 through Mar. 31.