Flu Facts

Letter to Our Patients

Flu Facts

No year is a good year to get the flu, but with COVID-19 widespread, 2020 is a very important year to avoid getting this vaccine-preventable illness. The flu kills about 64,000 in the US each year, and sidelines millions more for days to weeks.

In addition, transmitting the flu to babies, the elderly, and those who have compromised immune systems, increases their risk for severe illness and death.

2020 also brings a new threat – people being infected with COVID-19 and the flu at the same time. Although it is still unknown if contracting the two diseases together could cause an even more severe illness, why take the risk?

Who can get the flu vaccine?
Nearly anyone 6 months old or older can get the flu vaccine. Unfortunately, many people don’t get vaccinated, citing reasons such as: worry about side effects (serious ones are very rare); worry that the vaccine will give them the flu (it can’t); a belief that the flu isn’t all that serious (it can cause severe illness and death); and a dislike of vaccines in general.

Is the flu vaccine effective?
The flu vaccine — whether given via a shot or a nasal spray — isn’t perfect, and we know that its effectiveness varies from year to year. Even with this, the flu vaccine has been effective in reducing the chances that someone exposed to the virus will get symptoms severe enough to have to visit a doctor or hospital. In addition, those who get the vaccine and still get the flu often are less ill and for a much shorter period of time.

If you’re unsure about getting a flu vaccine because you’ve had a severe reaction in the past, check with your doctor about the best plan for you this year.

When should I get the flu vaccine?
September and October are the best times to be vaccinated to achieve immunity throughout the flu season, though getting the shot later is better than not at all. It takes about two weeks after your flu shot to achieve full immunity, so steer clear until then of anyone who has flu symptoms.

Flu vaccine versions this year include the standard shot, the nasal spray, a version without egg protein, and high-dose versions aimed at giving a boost to the immune responses of people 65 and above.

Does my insurance cover the flu vaccine?
Flu vaccines are generally free for anyone with Medicare Part B, employer health insurance and other insurances that conform to the Affordable Care Act, and for many Medicaid beneficiaries.

How will Nuvance Health administer the flu vaccine and protect me from COVID-19?
Nuvance Health will be administering the flu vaccine in primary care practices and in vaccination clinics. Please call your doctor’s office to schedule a time to get your flu vaccination.

In summary, 2020 is an important year to get your flu shot! Nuvance Health and our team of nurses stand ready to vaccinate our communities as we continue to keep our friends, neighbors and families safe in what has been a very difficult year. Together we will get through this…

Sincerely,
Your Healthcare Team at Nuvance Health Primary Care