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Flu season is here: Get your flu shot today

Sep 22, 2021, 07:00 AM

Seasonal flu — the flu that comes year after year — starts in September and lasts into May. Caused by the influenza virus, the flu is a sickness that infects the nose, throat and lungs. Getting a flu shot each fall is the best way to prevent it. The flu shot is even more important this year as COVID-19 continues to spread,  especially among people who haven’t received the COVID-19 vaccine. While the shot can’t prevent COVID-19, it can help stop you from getting the flu. As a Columbia Pacific CCO member, the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine are free for you.

Is the flu shot safe?

Yes! According to the CDC, “Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines for more than 50 years, and there has been extensive research supporting the safety of flu vaccines.” You may experience side effects that come along with many vaccines. These include soreness, redness or swelling where you received the shot, headaches, fever, nausea and muscle aches. These are normal and go away quickly.

Who should get the flu shot?

Everyone age six months and older should get an annual flu shot. If you’re not sure if the flu shot is right for you, talk with your primary care provider (PCP).

How is the flu shot developed?

Each year, scientists decide which types of the flu virus are most likely to spread in the coming year and make people sick. Based on that research, flu shots are developed by different companies, and those vaccines go through the FDA’s testing and approval process. In other words, scientists work to make the flu shot is effective, and the FDA makes sure the flu shot is safe.

Is it safe to get my flu shot at the same time as my COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot?

Yes. The CDC has confirmed that “You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same visit.”

Where can I get my flu shot? Is it safe to visit a clinic or pharmacy to get my flu shot?

Contact your PCP or primary care clinic to get your flu shot. Many local pharmacies also offer the flu shot — members age 19 and older are welcome to get the flu shot at any pharmacy in Columbia Pacific’s network. Members 18 and younger should get the shot from their PCP. You do not need an appointment to get a flu shot.

If you’re not sure if your local pharmacy is in network, visit to check or to find a pharmacy near you. Clinics and pharmacies are taking precautions to keep you safe when you get your flu shot. Be sure to bring your Columbia Pacific Member ID card and your government-issued ID when you get your flu shot.

More helpful resources

CDC: Vaccine for flu

CDC: How influenza (flu) vaccines are made

CDC: Selecting viruses for the seasonal influenza vaccine

CDC: Getting your COVID vaccine

Columbia Pacific CCO: Flu shots What you need to know about the flu vaccine: