No-Cost* Flu Shots
Convenient appointment times, minimal waiting, contactless registration.
Are you ready to fight the flu?
The health and safety of our patients is of utmost importance to us. This year, to help keep our patients as safe as possible in our centers, we will be offering No-Cost* Flu Shots with the following enhanced standards:
- Minimize time spent inside the center – No waiting inside.
- Contactless registration with online patient registration.
- Dedicated Areas – Flu Shot patients will be seen in designated healthy areas and not exposed to other patients.
We are anticipating being presented with unprecedented challenges due to the confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020/2021 flu season. The flu shot is the first line of defense to protect yourself from a dangerous flu season this year. Don’t wait! The season is in full swing by November, and it can take up to two weeks for the antibodies in the flu vaccine to help build up immunity against the virus in your system. Don’t take chances with the flu this year. Protect yourself and your loved ones with a flu shot.
Questions About the Flu Shot? We Have Answers!
Is the flu shot safe?
Yes. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone over the age of 6 months** receive a flu vaccine at the start of each flu season.
Children younger than 5 years old–especially those younger than 2– are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications. A flu vaccine offers the best defense against flu and its potentially serious consequences and can also reduce the spread of flu to others. Getting vaccinated has been shown to reduce flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, missed work and school days, and reduce the risk of flu-related hospitalization and death in children.
What type of flu shots are available?
We have flu shots for all and specific presentations available for each age group.
- Age 6 months+ will receive Fluzone® Quadrivalent influenza vaccine.
- Children aged 6 months through 8 years require 2 doses of influenza vaccine administered a minimum of 4 weeks apart during their first flu season of vaccination for optimal protection.
- Age 18+ will receive Flublok® Quadrivalent influenza vaccine.
- Flublok is especially ideal for patients with egg allergies, are vegan, or are allergic to other ingredients typically found in conventional vaccines.
- 65+ will receive Fluzone® High-Dose Influenza vaccine
- High-Dose is specifically formulated for immune systems of those age 65+ and proven to be more effective than regular flu shots in preventing the flu.
Can I walk in to get my flu shot, or make an appointment online for my flu-shot only visit this year?
To help keep patients safe in our centers, we are requiring an appointment be made in advance. Walk-ins are not allowed at this time.
Flu and COVID-19
What is the difference between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19?
Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called 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 between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two. While more is learned every day, there is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it.
Will there be flu along with COVID-19 in the fall and winter?
While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. In this context, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever. CDC recommends that all people 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine.
Can I have flu and COVID-19 at the same time?
Yes. It is possible have flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses, and COVID-19 at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this can be.
Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with flu or COVID-19.
Is COVID-19 more dangerous than flu?
Flu and COVID-19 can both result in serious illness, including illness resulting in hospitalization or death. While there is still much to learn about COVID-19, at this time, it does seem as if COVID-19 is more deadly than seasonal influenza; however, it is too early to draw any conclusions from the current data. This may change as we learn more about the number of people who are infected who have mild illnesses.
Will a flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19?
Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will be more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu but also to help conserve potentially scarce health care resources.
Does a flu vaccination increase your risk of getting COVID-19?
There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccination increases your risk of getting sick from a coronavirus, like the one that causes COVID-19.
Who should get their flu vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the overall burden of respiratory illnesses is important to protect vulnerable populations at risk for severe illness, the healthcare system, and other critical infrastructure. Thus, healthcare providers should use every opportunity during the influenza vaccination season to administer influenza vaccines to all eligible persons, including;
- Essential workers: Including healthcare personnel (including nursing home, long-term care facility, and pharmacy staff) and other critical infrastructure workforce
- Persons at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19: Including adults aged 65 years and older, residents in a nursing home or long-term care facility, and persons of all ages with certain underlying medical conditions. Severe illness from COVID-19 has been observed to disproportionately affect members of certain racial/ethnic minority groups
- Persons at increased risk for serious influenza complications: Including infants and young children, children with neurologic conditions, pregnant women, adults aged 65 years and older, and other persons with certain underlying medical conditions
Should a flu vaccine be given to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?
No. Vaccination should be deferred (postponed) for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of whether they have symptoms, until they have met the criteria to discontinue their isolation. While mild illness is not a contraindication to flu vaccination, vaccination visits for these people should be postponed to avoid exposing healthcare personnel and other patients to the virus that causes COVID-19. When scheduling or confirming appointments for vaccination, patients should be instructed to notify the provider’s office or clinic in advance if they currently have or develop any symptoms of COVID-19.
Additionally, a prior infection with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or flu does not protect someone from future flu infections. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year.
When does flu season start?
We see cases of flu all year long, but the flu “season” starts when cases begin to increase, typically by November and lasting through March.
When should I get vaccinated?
The CDC recommends getting vaccinated in the fall, before the end of October. It can take up to two weeks for the antibodies in the vaccine to develop to protect the body from flu, so it is a good idea to get vaccinated early.
Can I get the flu from the vaccine?
No. Most people do not have any side effects from the flu vaccine, but on occasion some may experience mild side effects like a sore arm where the shot was administered, or a low-grade fever. These side effects are not symptoms of the flu, and the flu vaccine does not cause the flu. It can take up to two weeks before the antibodies in the vaccine build up to protect you from the flu. If you have been exposed to the flu virus before the vaccine can take effect, you may fall ill with flu. This is why it is so important to make sure you are vaccinated early!
I am allergic to eggs. Can I still get the flu vaccine?
Flublok is a good choice for all people 18 years of age and older and is especially ideal for patients with egg allergies, are vegan, or are allergic to other ingredients typically found in conventional vaccines. Flublok is different than conventional flu vaccines as it is the world’s first protein-based flu vaccine. Conventional flu vaccines are grown in eggs or sometimes in cell culture. Using revolutionary production technology, Flublok is highly pure as it is made without:
- the use of eggs
- preservatives, such as thimerosal
- live or inactivated flu virus
If you have an allergy to eggs, it is best to consult your allergist and/or Primary Care Provider before getting vaccinated. However, the CDC does note that those who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg can get “any licensed flu vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health”. You can reference the full CDC information on vaccines and egg allergies here.
*Patients with private participating insurance will have their flu vaccine billed through their insurance, and there will be no co-pay or patient responsibility unless otherwise required by their plan. The cost for Fluzone flu shot for uninsured patients is $35. The cost for Flublok & Fluzone High-Dose flu shot is $70. Medicaid (MassHealth) patients under 19 years of age cannot receive a flu vaccination at our facilities.