Why do I need to get the flu vaccine each year?
Getting a flu vaccine¹ each year is the best thing you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your community. Children, adults over 65, and people with chronic conditions such as asthma are at a higher risk of flu complications. Vaccination is also important for women who are pregnant or have recently had a baby.
Flu viruses evolve fast, so last year’s flu vaccine may not protect you from this year’s viruses. You will need this year’s flu vaccine to fight this year’s flu.
¹ If you have severe, life-threatening allergies to any ingredient in the vaccine, such as gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients, or have ever had Guillain-Barré syndrome, you should not get the flu vaccine. Please talk to your doctor if you have questions.
Where do I get the flu vaccine?
At your doctor’s office: Just make an appointment. If the vaccine is the only reason for your office visit, it’s free.
At your pharmacy: Most EmblemHealth commercial and Medicare₂ members can get the flu vaccine at participating pharmacies, including Duane Reade, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. Medicaid and Child Health Plus members over the age of 19 are also eligible. If you are unsure of your flu vaccine coverage, please call the number on your member ID card.
₂ Medicare members with only Part D (pharmacy) benefits with EmblemHealth cannot get the flu vaccine at an in-network pharmacy. Those members should contact their Part B carrier for coverage of the flu vaccine.
Flu and COVID-19
What is the difference between the flu or cold and COVID-19?
The flu, cold, and COVID-19 are all respiratory illnesses, but are caused by different viruses. Because symptoms are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information on key differences between the two:
Testing may be needed to confirm a diagnosis.
Can I have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time?
Yes, it is possible to have the flu and other respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, at the same time.
Is COVID-19 more dangerous than the flu?
The flu and COVID-19 can both result in serious illness, including hospitalization or death. COVID-19 is considered more deadly than the seasonal flu. This includes the highly contagious Delta variant.
Do I need the pneumonia vaccine?
The pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine protects against pneumonia and other types of infections caused by the most common strains of a bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae. The pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for all adults over 65 years old, and for adults younger than 65 years who have certain chronic health conditions.