Flu Season in Northern Michigan
As northern Michigan’s leading provider of care for older adults, we receive a lot of questions about flu shots every fall. Some of the myths about flu shots have seniors worried about whether or not they should be vaccinated. Other questions are in regard to payment and costs. To help older adults and Michigan caregivers separate the facts from the myths, we have pulled together some of the answers to questions we receive most often during flu shot season.
Q: Who does the CDC recommend get a vaccine?
A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises people over the age of 6 months receive a flu shot. One known exception is those who have a severe egg allergy. People between the ages of 6 months and 5 years of age and adults over the age of 65 are considered at high risk for complications of flu and should be vaccinated. In addition, people who have chronic health conditions, pregnant women, health care professionals, caregivers, and those who have a family member with a chronic illness should get the vaccine.
Q: If I got a flu shot at the very end of flu season last year do I need to get vaccinated again this season?
A: Yes, you will still need to get the flu shot again this flu season. The reason being the flu virus is different from year to year. New flu vaccines are developed each year to protect you from those new strains.
Q: Where can you receive the vaccine?
A: In addition to your primary care physician’s office, many pharmacies and community health organizations are sponsoring flu shot clinics. If you are a working caregiver, you might even be able to get a flu shot at your place of employment.
Q: Will Medicare or private health care insurance pay for the flu shot?
A: Traditional Medicare will pay for the vaccine. While private insurance coverage and co-pays vary by plan, most do pay for the flu shot. Check with your insurance company before you receive the vaccine to see if there are any restrictions on which providers they will reimburse for the flu shot.
Q: Will I get the flu if I have a flu shot?
A: This dangerous myth keeps many people who are at high risk for complications from the flu from actually receiving the vaccine. You cannot get the flu from the vaccine. It contains an inactive virus. The most common side effect people experience is a little tenderness at the site the shot was administered.
If you would like to learn more about the flu shot and this year’s flu season, visit What You Should Know for the 2014-2015 Influenza Season from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.