The Flu Vaccine: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the flu?
    The flu is an illness that can cause hospitalizations and potentially death. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, and fatigue. It can also lead to other complications such as pneumonia, sinus infections, or, in severe cases, multi-organ failure. People over the age of 65 are at a higher risk of complications due to decreasing immune defenses as aging occurs.
  2. Are there any ways of preventing the flu?
    The main prevention against the flu would be receiving the flu vaccine. It works by causing the body to produce antibodies that provide protection against the specific flu viruses in the vaccine. Other prevention techniques include covering your nose/mouth when coughing or sneezing, washing your hands with soap and water avoiding touching your face, and frequently cleaning surfaces that could contain germs.
  3. Why is it important to receive a flu vaccine?
    Studies have shown that each year the vaccination helps prevent influenza-associated complications and doctor’s visits. In 2016-2017 it was estimated that the vaccine prevented 85,000 hospitalizations related to the virus and 2.6 million medical visits.
  4. Why do I have to receive a flu shot yearly?
    Every year the CDC conducts studies that predict the most common flu types they believe will be prevalent in the United States. These change from year to year and that is why you should get a flu shot each year.
  5. If I receive the flu vaccine can I still contract the flu?
    Yes, however, there are still multiple benefits even if you get sick. Studies have shown that people that received the vaccine and still contract the flu had a decreased risk of death, decreased intensive care unit admissions, and decreased duration of hospitalization vs people who contract the flu and did not receive a flu shot. Studies have also shown that vaccinated people who contract the flu had a less severe case than unvaccinated people.
  6. Does the flu vaccine work immediately?
    No, it takes about two weeks after receiving the vaccine for it to provide protection against the infection. This is why you should receive the vaccine around October of each year before the season starts.
  7. Should I be concerned about side effects?
    Typical side effects would be soreness or redness where the shot was given, a low grade fever, and potentially some aches. The flu vaccine cannot cause you to contract the flu.
  8. Where can I receive my flu shot?
    Please contact Holladay Healthcare Pharmacy at 1-800-848-3446/holladaycare.com or your local pharmacy as pharmacists can administer the flu vaccine. Flu vaccines can also be obtained through your primary care doctor’s office or the local health department.

Reference: Key Facts about Seasonal Flu Vaccine [Internet].Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2018 September 6th [cited 2019 July 25]. Available from: www.cdc.gov

Laura Loflin, PharmD
Staff Pharmacist
Holladay Healthcare Pharmacy

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