Getting Your Flu Shot is More Important than Ever

Fall is here, and this year it’s more important than ever to stay safe and healthy. The existence of COVID-19 in no way diminishes the importance of preventing the seasonal flu. In fact, COVID-19 makes getting a flu shot more crucial.

Getting a flu shot ¹each year is the best thing you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your community. Children, adults over 65, and people with chronic conditions such as asthma are at a higher risk of flu complications. Vaccination is also important for women who are pregnant or who recently had a baby.

Flu viruses evolve fast, so last year’s vaccine may not protect you from this year’s viruses. You will need this year’s flu vaccine to fight this year’s seasonal flu. For more information about the flu, visit our flu resources.

1If you have severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine, such as gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients, or have ever had Guillain-Barré syndrome, you should not get the flu shot. Please talk to your doctor if you have questions.

  • At your doctor’s office: Just make an appointment. If the vaccine is the only reason for your office visit, it's free.
  • AdvantageCare Physicians (ACPNY): If the flu shot is the only reason for your visit, your ACPNY visit is free.
  • At your pharmacy: Most EmblemHealth commercial and Medicare² members can get the flu vaccine at participating pharmacies including Duane Reade, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. Medicaid and Child Health Plus members over age 19 are also eligible. If you are unsure of your flu vaccine coverage, please call the number on the back of your member ID card.

2Medicare members with only Part D (pharmacy) benefits with EmblemHealth cannot get the flu vaccine at an in-network pharmacy. Those members should contact their Part B carrier for coverage of the flu vaccine.

Flu and COVID-19

The flu, cold, and COVID-19 are all respiratory illnesses, but are caused by different viruses. Because symptoms are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information on key differences between the two:

Testing may be needed to confirm a diagnosis.

Yes, it is possible to have the flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this can be.

The flu and COVID-19 can both result in serious illness, including hospitalization or death. At this time, COVID-19 is considered more deadly than seasonal flu. This may change as we learn more about how COVID-19 works.

The pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine protects against pneumonia and other types of infections caused by the most common strains of a bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae. The pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for all adults over 65 years old, and for adults younger than 65 years who have certain chronic health conditions.

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