Nurse giving patient a vaccine

Every year, millions of people get sick with a contagious respiratory virus, like the flu, COVID-19 or RSV.

As the number of cases increase in the community, especially during the fall and winter months, it gets harder to avoid being exposed to these viruses. One of your best defenses against getting sick is a vaccine.

Learn more about who should get vaccinated and where you can find vaccines.

Find Vaccines for:


An updated COVID-19 vaccine was released on September 12, 2023, to protect against the latest strains. 

Who Should Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

Adults and children ages 6 months and older are eligible for this vaccine. 

When to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine

If you haven’t yet gotten the latest COVID-19 vaccine that became available in September 2023, you can get it anytime as long as it’s been 60 days (2 months) from your previous COVID vaccine or booster.

If you recently had COVID-19, you might want to wait for about 3 months before getting the vaccine. Reinfection is typically unlikely in the first months, per the CDC.

If you have never had a COVID-19 vaccine, you can start with the newly released shot. 

It takes two weeks after your shot to boost immunity. Maximum protection is usually achieved in the first three months after vaccination. 

Where to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine

You can go to to search by zip code for where to get a COVID-19 vaccine locally. Here are places that typically offer the COVID-19 vaccine: 

No-Cost COVID Vaccines

The CDC’s Bridge Access Program provides no-cost COVID-19 vaccines to adults without health insurance and adults whose insurance does not cover the cost of a COVID vaccine. Vaccines are available until December 31, 2024. Read how and where to get a no-cost COVID vaccine through this program


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that a flu shot can reduce the risk of getting sick with the flu by 40%-60%. You need a flu shot every year to stay protected. 

Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine

Adults and children ages 6 months and older are eligible for the flu vaccine. 

When to Get the Flu Vaccine

September or October is a great time to get your flu shot every year. That way you'll be protected from December through February, when cases are at their highest. However, it is not too late to get a vaccine after flu season is under way. 

The flu vaccine's protection is effective about 2 weeks after a flu shot. You are protected for months, and then protection declines over time. 

Where to Get a Flu Vaccine

You can go to to search by zip code for locations that offer flu vaccines. There are a few options for where to get your flu shot: 

  • Pharmacy - Many pharmacies and drug stores like Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Safeway and Giant offer flu shots.
  • Doctor's office - Your primary care doctor can give you a flu shot. If you don't have a primary care doctor, go here to find an UMMS provider near you.
  • Urgent care center - Many urgent care centers can give flu shots, including University of Maryland (UM) Urgent Care.
  • Your place of work - Many companies offer flu shot clinics for their employees. Check with your human resources department to get information.
  • Local health department - Visit your local health department site for more information on where flu shots are available. Many health departments, like Baltimore City, offer special programs like walk-in and mobile clinics to ensure residents can get the vaccines they need. 


The RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) vaccine is new in 2023. RSV causes cold-like symptoms in many people, but can be serious for infants and older adults. Like the flu, RSV usually starts in the fall and peaks in winter (although it does vary in different parts of the country). 

Who Should Get the RSV Vaccine

According to the CDC:

  • Adults ages 60 and older should get the RSV vaccine
  • People who are between 32 and 36 weeks pregnant during September through January. When someone gets the RSV vaccine while pregnant, the antibodies pass to their unborn baby. Babies born at least 2 weeks after their parent receives the vaccine will be protected from RSV.
  • For infants younger than 8 months of age who were born during or are entering their first RSV season, a different RSV antibody immunization is recommended. This is also recommended for high-risk infants between 8 and 19 months of age. This antibody immunization doesn't teach the body to make antibodies, but instead provides antibodies.

When to Get the RSV Vaccine

September or October is a good time to get the RSV vaccine. RSV season is from late fall through winter, but can extend into spring. Cases tend to be at their highest around December.

Where to Get the RSV Vaccine

You can visit the CDC's RSV page to get the latest information on this new vaccine. Here are places to check for the RSV vaccine near you:

  • Pharmacy - Not all stores that offer a flu shot and COVD-19 vaccine also carry the RSV vaccine, so check with your local pharmacy. Walgreens, CVS and Safeway are among those that do.
  • Doctor's office - Ask your primary care doctor if they offer the RSV vaccine. If you don't have a primary care doctor, go here to find an UMMS provider near you.
  • Local health department - Visit your local health department site for more information on the RSV vaccine. 

Everyday Preventive Measures to Limit the Spread of Respiratory Viruses

You can take everyday prevention measures to help reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses: 

  • Stay home when sick.
  • Wear a mask when sick to prevent spreading infection to others, or when around others who are sick to avoid getting infected.

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your shirt sleeve, not your hands. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. 
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and mobile devices. 

Updated October 10, 2023