Flu Vaccines

Amid all the focus on COVID-19 vaccinations, U.S. health experts have another plea: Don’t skip your flu shot. With U.S. schools and businesses reopened, international travel resuming and far less masking this fall, flu is likely to make a comeback.

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Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, your local medical professionals are preparing for the 2021-2022 flu season. Here’s what you need to know to prepare for and protect yourself against the flu.

It is possible to get the flu and COVID at the same time. Just as a COVID vaccine is the best defense against COVID, a flu vaccine is the best defense against the flu.

You can get flu and COVID vaccine on the same day.

The composition of all flu vaccines has been updated to include all four flu viruses. All are known as quadrivalent vaccines, and they provide broad protection against the four major flu viruses.

Flu vaccines are highly recommended for anyone aged 6 months and older. They are available in a number of locations and children can get vaccinated for the flu at their pediatrician’s or family medicine provider’s office.

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Adults can get flu vaccines from local pharmacies. At most pharmacies, there is no cost to patients with insurance and those who receive government assistance. For those 65 and older, a high-dose variety of flu vaccine is recommended. It is available at pharmacies and some doctor’s offices.

SVMC will provide standard and high-dose flu vaccines to people aged 9 and older at the COVID Resource Center through Oct. 29 during the following hours: 12 to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

No appointment is necessary and insurances cover the entire cost of flu vaccines. Those without insurance will receive a bill in the mail. The cost is $33 for the standard dose and $58 for the high dose.

In addition to getting vaccinated for the flu, the mitigation measures you take to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 will help reduce your risk for the flu. Wear a mask in indoor crowded areas, cover your coughs and sneezes, wash your hands, keep your distance from others when possible, and stay home if you are feeling ill.

Nurse Donna Barron is the infection preventionist at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.


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