Getting a Flu Shot
Although about 64 percent of Americans got a flu shot last season, that leaves about a third of the population unprotected from the flu. As many as 20 percent of people in the United States come down with the flu each year.
Flu shots can increase the chance of staying healthy through the winter months. Getting vaccinated will not only help keep you healthy, but it can help to prevent you from getting others sick too. It is recommended that everyone 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine.
Getting a flu vaccine this year is more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu but also to help conserve potentially scarce healthcare resources.
Where Can I Get a Flu Shot?
Your city or county Health Department maintains local resources about the flu. Please visit Maryland Department of Health Get Vaccinated to find phone numbers and links to your local Health Department.
While UMMS clinics are free, flu shots also are typically available through primary care providers and local pharmacies, though they may have a cost associated with them.
What You Need to Know About Flu Shots
At the University of Maryland Medical System, our experts have answered some of the common questions that people have about flu vaccines. Read the FAQs below.
Do I need a flu shot if I got one last year?
Yes. The flu virus changes, so a vaccination is needed each year to protect you from the year's most common flu type.
Will I get the flu from the flu shot?
No. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot. While most people feel fine after the shot, some may develop a mild fever or feel tired for a day or two. This is your body's normal response, working to protect you.
If I get the flu shot, does that mean I will not get the flu?
No. The flu shot is not 100 percent effective, but it does greatly lower your risk of getting the flu. There are many different types of the flu virus, and the shot doesn't protect you against all of them. Each year, the World Health Organization identifies three or four types most likely to be spread for that year's flu season to include in the flu shot.
Does the vaccine protect me right away?
No. It takes about two weeks for the shot to start working in your body, so you may still catch the flu after you have the shot.
If COVID-19 is spreading in my community, should I still go out to get a flu vaccine?
Yes. You can safely get a flu vaccine at multiple locations, including your doctor's office, health departments and pharmacies.
At UMMS hospitals we take patient safety very seriously. We are offering vaccination clinics and following CDC's vaccination guidance during a pandemic.