This year it is more important than ever to get a flu shot. Since the flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, you'll want to protect yourself and your family by getting the flu vaccine as soon as you can. Also, you'll want to get the flu shot 14 days before or after your COVID-19 vaccine.
At University of Maryland Urgent Care, we are here to answer your questions and help you get ready to get the flu vaccine.
Who Should Get the Flu Shot?
- People between the ages of 4 and 64 years of age are eligible for the flu shot.
- Children between the ages of 4 and 8 who have not previously been immunized against the flu should be immunized twice, separated by 30 days.
- Women who are pregnant can get the flu shot. The flu vaccine has not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies.
- People who have egg allergies but experience only hives after exposure to eggs can get any licensed flu vaccine that is appropriate for their age and health.
When Should You Get the Flu Shot?
The flu season is unpredictable, but most years the flu season spikes around January-February. Therefore, it's especially important to get your flu shot as soon as it is available.
Keep in mind that you will have to schedule your flu shot around your COVID-19 vaccination. You need to get flu shot 14 days before or after your COVID-19 vaccine.
However, if you be believe you may have the flu, come to UM Urgent Care as soon as possible and get tested.
Types of Flu Shots
Every year there are multiple types of flu shots that are available to the public. The first thing to understand is that not all flu shots are created equally. Some flu vaccines cover you against three strains of the flu while others cover against four strains. These are referred to as Trivalent and Quadravalent flu shots.
For the 2020-2021 flu season, UM Urgent Care will carry the Flucelvax Quadrivalent flu vaccine. Flucelvax Quadrivalent is a vaccine that helps protect against two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
The additional protection against a potential fourth strain of the flu is best, so the Quadravalent flu shots are recommended.
Even when the flu virus mutates, the flu vaccine can help decrease the severity and symptoms of the flu.
Does the Vaccine Contain Eggs?
Flucelvax is manufactured using cell-culture technology, which utilizes a well-characterized mammalian cell line rather than chicken eggs to grow virus strains. This type of manufacturing makes it easier and faster to produce vaccines for seasonal influenza or in the case of a potential pandemic.
The flu shot can cause mild side effects that are sometimes mistaken for flu, but a flu shot can't give you the flu. These side effects are from a person's immune system producing protective antibodies in response to being vaccinated. These antibodies are what allow the body to fight the flu.
Some of the most common side effects of the flu shot include:
- Feeling unwell (malaise)
- Muscle aches
- Pain or redness where you got the shot
If you have any side effects, they usually last 1-2 days after vaccination and are much less severe than the actual flu illness.
Protective immunity doesn't develop until 1 to 2 weeks after vaccination so there is a chance you could get the flu after getting your shot. This is why you will need to wash your hands, not touch your face and mouth and stay away from people who have flu symptoms, such as a cough, sneezing, runny nose, aches or other symptoms.
Get the Flu Shot
Once you're ready for the flu vaccine, view a list of all UM Urgent Care locations and make an appointment online.