It's Time to Get Your Flu Shot!

by Nicole Viau, Health Promotion & Communication Specialist, City of Nashua Division of Public Health & Community Services

An annual influenza (flu) vaccine is the best way to reduce your chances of getting the seasonal flu and spreading it to others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone ages 6 and older receive an annual flu vaccine. Each year, the CDC works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as other partners, to ensure the highest safety standards for flu vaccines.

Flu vaccines are made by using killed flu viruses (for inactivated vaccines) or without flu virus at all (for the recombinant vaccine). Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. Because the flu virus changes, new vaccines need to be made and administered every year. This is why you need to get a new flu vaccine every year!
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, such as flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever. Flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but different viruses cause them. COVID-19 is caused by infection with the virus known as SARS-CoV-2, and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference based upon symptoms alone, making testing the only way to confirm diagnosis.

Getting a flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19, and there is no evidence that getting a flu vaccination increases your risk of getting sick from COVID-19. Flu vaccines have important benefits, such as reducing the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death. Not only does the flu vaccine reduce your risk from flu, but it also helps conserve potentially scarce health care resources.

The CDC recommends getting a flu vaccination in September or October, but getting vaccinated anytime during the flu season can help protect you. To get your flu vaccine, visit your health care provider or local pharmacy. For a full list of where you can receive the flu vaccine this year, visit https://vaccinefinder.org/. For more information about the flu, visit the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.

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