Say boo to the flu! Get your flu shot and COVID booster today

October 21, 2022 Swedish Health Team
[4 min read]

In this article: 

  • Make spooky season a healthy season and get your flu shot and COVID boosters today. 

  •  Early increases in seasonal influenza have been reported in most of the United States. 

  • An annual flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your family against the flu. 

Flu activity is increasing in the United States. More cases were reported last week than the same time a year ago. If predications hold, we could see the strongest flu season since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months and older gets a flu vaccination by the end of October. The CDC also recommends that everyone stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines for their age group. 


Get the real facts about flu vaccines

Will the flu vaccine give me the flu?

The flu shot is made with inactivated viruses, which means you can’t get the flu from the shot. However, it can trigger an immune response from your body, which may cause you to experience mild, flu-like symptoms like soreness or a low-grade fever. The most common reaction to the flu vaccine is soreness or redness around the area where the shot was given. 

But why did I get sick after I got the flu shot?

Even if you got a flu vaccine, there are many reasons why you might still get flu or a flu-like illness. 
  • You may have been exposed to a non-flu virus before or after you got vaccinated. The flu vaccine can only prevent illnesses caused by flu viruses. It cannot protect against non-flu viruses that may cause flu-like illness. 
  • You might have been exposed to flu after you got vaccinated but before the vaccine took effect. It takes about two weeks after you receive the vaccine for your body to build protection against the flu. 
  • You may have been exposed to an influenza virus that was very different from the viruses included in that year’s vaccine. The flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will cause the most disease during the upcoming season, but there can be other flu viruses circulating.   
  • The Flu vaccine does not provide the same protection for everyone. Variables including age, medications and flu type prevalence changes the vaccine efficacy. 

Do I need the flu shot every year?

Yes. A person’s immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccination is needed to get the best protection against the flu. Also, the virus changes its makeup every season, so a new shot is needed every year to protect against the new virus. 

Should I wait to get my flu shot so that my immunity lasts through the end of the season?

The CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend the flu vaccinations begin soon after the vaccine becomes available, if possible, by October. Caregivers are required to get their flu shot or complete an online declination by Oct. 31. 

I’m pretty healthy. Why do still need to get the flu shot?

Healthy people can still carry the virus and may inadvertently pass it on to those vulnerable population groups we serve without experiencing symptoms. Even though rates of serious illness are highest among people 65 years of age and older, children under 2 years of age, and those with an underlying chronic medical condition, the healthiest of people need to receive the flu vaccine to lower the chances of passing it to others. 

Will the flu shot help fight the coronavirus?

The flu shot won’t protect you from developing COVID-19, but it can help us respond better to the COVID-19 outbreak. Fewer cases of the flu mean more resources available to fight COVID-19. 

Is it possible to have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time?

It is possible to test positive for flu (as well as other respiratory pathogens) and the virus that causes COVID-19 at the same time. 

Will the flu vaccine affect COVID-19 test results?

Getting a flu shot does not affect your COVID-19 test result. COVID-19 and seasonal influenza are different diseases. COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. The flu is caused by influenza viruses. Whether you are tested for a current COVID-19 infection or to see if you previously had COVID-19, having had a flu shot in the past will not cause a false positive test result for either test. 

Learn more and find a doctor

If you have concerns about your health or it’s time for a check-up, it’s important to see a primary care provider. Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult a doctor virtually, you have options.
Swedish Virtual Care connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory.

Related resources

Six things you should know about the new COVID boosters 

Under the weather? Tips to help you figure out if it's the flu or a cold

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.
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