Q: When should I get my flu shot?
The CDC (USA) has recommended that people “get a flu vaccine by the end of October,” but noted it’s not too late to get one after that because shots “can still be beneficial and vaccination should be offered throughout the flu season.”
Even so, some experts say not to wait too long this year — not only because of COVID-19, but also in case a shortage develops because of overwhelming demand.
Q: What are the reasons I should get a flu shot?
Get a shot because it protects you from catching the flu and spreading it to others, which may help lessen the burden on hospitals and medical staffs.
Other reasons to get a flu shot:
While a flu shot won’t prevent COVID-19, getting one could help your doctors differentiate between the diseases if you develop any symptoms — fever, cough, sore throat — they share.
Even though flu shots won’t prevent all cases of the flu, getting vaccinated can lessen the severity if you do fall ill.
You cannot get influenza from having a flu vaccine.
All eligible people, especially essential workers, those with underlying conditions and those at higher risk — including very young children and pregnant women — should seek protection.
Children over 6 months old should get vaccinated.
Q: How effective is the flu vaccine? Can I get the flu after I am vaccinated?
The flu vaccine gives the best protection against flu.
Flu vaccines help protect against the main types of flu viruses, although there's still a chance you might get flu.
It’s possible to get sick with flu even if you have been vaccinated (although you won’t know for sure unless you get a flu test). Think of the flu shot as a preventive measure, it helps to reduce the risk of spread, not get rid of the risk altogether.
If you do get flu after vaccination, it's likely to be milder and not last as long.
Having the flu vaccine will also stop you spreading flu to other people who may be more at risk of serious problems from flu.
It can take 10 to 14 days for the flu vaccine to work.
Q: Are there side effects to the vaccine? Or will it give me the flu?
The flu vaccine cannot give you flu.
None of the flu vaccines contains live viruses so they cannot cause flu.
If you are unwell after vaccination, you may have something else. Or you may have caught flu before your vaccination had worked.
Flu vaccines are very safe. Most side effects are mild and only last for a day or so, such as:
Try these tips to help reduce any discomfort after the shot:
continue to move your arm regularly
take a painkiller, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen – some people, including those who are pregnant, should not take ibuprofen unless a doctor recommends it
Q: Does a flu vaccine increase your risk of getting COVID-19?
There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccine increases your risk of getting sick from a coronavirus, like the one that causes COVID-19.
Q: How will the vaccine be recorded in my medical records?
Each patient will be given a card, showing that they have received the flu shot. It has pertinent information on it, such as lot number and location of the shot, which they should be able to produce for entry into their medical records. Keep this card and provide it to your medical system.
Q: Is the vaccine an EU approved vaccine?
The vaccine is a US vaccine being given by US Navy Medics, and signing the screening form accepts that situation. There is no medicolegal reason why it cannot be given in the EU, and the vaccine is safe and approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration.