Health Benefits

Flu Season Is Here! What You Should Know During COVID-19

Last flu season, there was a lower circulation of flu than usual. This year, with schools and venues open, and people returning to the office, there will likely be more flu circulating. Stay safe and protected by getting immunized against the flu!

Flu, also called influenza, is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza can affect people differently. The CDC estimates that flu causes hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and 12,000 – 60,000 deaths each flu season. While it’s always important to prevent the flu, it’s especially important this season. A bad flu season combined with COVID-19 can put vulnerable people at higher risk for illness.

Flu season lasts anywhere from October through May, so now is the right time to get your flu shot. The CDC recommends one for everyone 6 months and older. The flu vaccine this year is quadrivalent, which means it protects against four different flu strains. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with circulating viruses.

Getting vaccinated will protect you and your loved ones, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, pregnant people, and people with chronic health conditions. Flu vaccination will help lower the burden on the health care system by decreasing flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Many people at higher risk for serious flu illness are also at higher risk for serious illness due to COVID-19. If you haven’t gotten vaccinated against COVID-19 yet or you are eligible for a COVID booster, you can now receive COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time! It’s safe and convenient.

While you can coordinate your flu shot with your primary care provider or health plan, there are also drop-in or appointment options available at your local retail pharmacies. Find a flu vaccine location near you.

Source: CalPERS clinical team and CDC website