Spotlight

Spotlight

The flu and vaccines: What you need to know

Posted November 30, 2015 11:10 a.m. EST
Updated November 28, 2016 6:10 p.m. EST

The CDC recommends vaccination as soon as vaccines are made available for the flu season, and flu shots are offered through the entire season.

This story was written for our sponsor, the N.C. Division of Public Health.

Some common questions that people have about flu vaccination are: Why should I or my family be vaccinated? What should I know about the vaccine? And, Where can I be vaccinated? Here are answers to those important issues this time of year.

Dangers of the Flu

The flu isn't just any other illness. According to the CDC, seasonal flu-related deaths in the United States range from 3,000 to a high of nearly 49,000. And even when the flu is not the direct cause of death, it can weaken individuals and prompt other illnesses to worsen. This makes people 65 years and older at the highest risk of flu-related death, with young children and infants close behind. Even a healthy person between 6 months and 65 will spend between two and three weeks bedridden with severe cough, aches and chills, fever, and fatigue if infected with the flu virus.

The Vaccine

There are many options for flu vaccination for the 2015-2016 season:

  • Traditional
    This vaccine is grown in eggs (those with egg allergies should speak with their doctor) and targets the three most likely flu strains for the upcoming season. This shot is available via needle or jet injector.
  • High Dose
    This dosage is available for people 65 and older.
  • Egg-Free
    Known as Flublok, this flu vaccine is developed without use of chicken eggs. Its downside is that it has a shorter shelf-life than the traditional vaccine.

When and Where Should I Get Vaccinated?

The CDC recommends vaccination as soon as vaccines are made available for the flu season, and flu shots are offered through the entire season. Use the tool to the right to find where flu vaccines are available in the area; if you are on a mobile device, click here.

Health insurance should cover flu vaccines, though you might have to ask your insurance provider where you can get a vaccine under your plan. The typical vaccine can cost $15 and up at an average drug store.

Remember -- it’s never too early or too late to be vaccinated, and individuals 6 months and older can be vaccinated.

This story was written for our sponsor, the N.C. Division of Public Health.