COVID-19 and the flu: What you need to know this year

How will COVID-19 affect this year’s flu season? Learn about your risks, this year’s flu shot and what you can do to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community.

The flu shot: Frequently asked questions

Is the flu shot covered?

The flu vaccine is 100% covered under most plans when you go to an in-network provider. To see if the flu shot is covered under your plan, sign in at regence.com and check your Medical Benefit Booklet for your immunization coverage.

Does the flu shot work?

You can count on flu vaccine effectiveness—the flu shot can lower your risk of getting sick by 40-60%. Flu vaccines have also been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death, so even if you do get sick, it’s less likely to be severe.

Where do I get a flu shot? Is it safe to go out and get one?

Some settings, like workplaces, may not offer the flu vaccine this year. However, you can safely get a flu shot during COVID-19 by practicing preventive actions like wearing a mask and social distancing. In addition, most doctors’ offices and pharmacies have taken precautions—such as scheduling appointment times to manage patient flow and allowing for a minimum distance of six feet between patients in waiting areas.

To locate a flu shot provider near you, use Find a Doctor. Choose Medical, and then select Immunizations: Flu shot. Be sure to sign in, so your results are in-network. Many pharmacies offer walk-in vaccinations, so you don’t need to make an appointment.

If you’d rather get your flu shot at your doctor’s office, reach out to your primary care provider. Remember to ask them if walk-in immunizations are available to avoid paying for an office visit along with your flu shot.

What should I do if I’m experiencing symptoms?

Common shared symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you have symptoms and aren’t sure whether it’s allergies, a cold, the flu or COVID-19, make an appointment with a doctor. A good first step is virtual care—which lets you visit with a doctor from the comfort and safety of home—and it’s available 24/7. Sign in to see your virtual care options.

Can you get the flu from the flu shot?

No, the flu shot can’t cause the flu. Flu vaccines are made with either inactivated (dead) viruses, or with only a single protein from the flu virus.

Can the flu shot protect against COVID-19?

No, getting a flu vaccine won’t protect you against COVID-19.

Can the flu shot increase my risk of getting COVID-19?

No, there is no evidence that getting a flu shot increases your risk of getting sick from a coronavirus, like the one that causes COVID-19.

Is it better to get sick with the flu than to get the flu shot?

No. The flu can result in serious complications, hospitalization or death, even among otherwise healthy children and adults. Getting your flu shot is a safer choice than risking illness.

I got a flu shot years ago. Do I need to get one this year?

Yes. The CDC recommends a yearly flu shot for everyone older than six months with rare exceptions. Additionally, flu viruses are constantly changing, so it’s important to get this year’s vaccine.

I’m pregnant. Should I get a flu shot?

Yes. Studies have shown that pregnant people who get flu shots not only are protected themselves, but the baby is also protected from the flu for several months after birth, when they’re not old enough to be vaccinated.

Does getting vaccinated twice in one season provide added immunity?

Studies haven’t shown a benefit from getting more than one dose of vaccine during the same flu season, even among older people with weakened immune systems. Except for children getting vaccinated for the first time, only one dose of flu vaccine is recommended each season.

Is it too late to get a flu shot?

Getting a flu shot can still be beneficial as long as flu viruses are going around. Even in December or later, it can still be protective. Flu season usually peaks between December and March, but can last as late as May.