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Everyone 6 months and older should get the flu shot every year, with very few exceptions.
The best time to get the flu shot is late September through October—early enough that your body has time to develop antibodies before the flu season begins, and late enough that you’re protected through the end of the flu season. While it’s best to be vaccinated in early fall, it’s still worthwhile to receive a vaccine later in the year or even in early 2023 to protect yourself.
To get your flu shot, please schedule an appointment with your primary care provider through MyHealth.
You can still get the flu vaccine at Stanford Health Care, even if you are not a patient, at a cost—depending on your health plan coverage. To do so, you’ll need to create a MyHealth account and make an appointment from there.
Contact your insurance provider to determine whether it covers the vaccine. Most insurance plans do.
Serious reactions to the flu vaccines are extremely rare. You are more likely to have severe complications from the flu than from a vaccine.
The flu vaccine’s protection lasts only about six months, which is the typical length of the flu season. Also, influenza strains are constantly changing, so each year’s flu vaccine is developed to target the strains most likely to circulate during the upcoming flu season.
The vaccine’s effectiveness varies each year, but generally the flu vaccine will reduce your risk of getting the flu by about 50%. However, if you get sick, you’re likely to have a milder case if you have received the flu shot. In addition, getting the flu shot will help reduce the spread of influenza in your community.
If you have a cold or other mild illness, it’s safe to receive the flu shot. If you have a more serious illness, with a fever, you may need to wait. Check with your care provider if you’re scheduled to receive a flu shot and don’t feel well.
A day or two after receiving the flu shot, you may develop muscle aches, soreness at the shot site, headache, nausea, and rarely, a fever. Severe allergic reactions are rare. They include difficulty breathing, hives, a rapid heartbeat, weakness, and swelling around the eyes or lips. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek emergency care.
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine may be given at the same time.
Yes, you can receive the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine at the same time as the flu vaccine.
Yes, people can be infected with both the flu and COVID-19. A Stanford Medicine study found that 1 in 5 people who had COVID-19 were also infected with another respiratory virus.
The flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19. However, the flu can be serious. It sends an average of 200,000 people to the hospital annually and has killed between 12,000 and 61,000 people each year on average since 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With the COVID-19 pandemic predicted to worsen in the fall and winter, hospitals may be overwhelmed, so it’s important everyone is protected against the flu.
Healthy people ages 2 – 49 who are not pregnant may receive the vaccination through nasal spray. Check with your care provider if you’re unsure whether you qualify.
The steps you can take to protect yourself against COVID-19 and the flu are the same:
- Stay away from people who are sick.
- Wear a mask in public.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid touching your eyes and nose.
- Stay healthy by eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising.
After signing in, navigate to the Appointments tab. Once there, select "Vaccinations" from the list of specialties. Then select "Flu Vaccination" from the appointment type list.