Every flu season is a bit different, but some things stay the same each year.
- People of all ages get flu.
- People are hospitalized with flu.
- People who get a flu shot are less likely to become sick.
A flu shot can keep people from missing work or school. It can also help you avoid out-of-pocket costs and general misery.
“Getting your flu shot can be the difference between getting sick and staying healthy,” said Safina Koreishi, medical director of Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization. “It can also be the difference between getting sick but not ending up in the hospital.”
Flu season starts in October. The vaccine takes about two weeks to become fully effective, so get your shot in September to be protected for the whole flu season. Our members pay no fee when they get a flu shot from network providers.
High risks. The Centers for Disease Control recommend flu shot for nearly everyone older than 6 months. People at high risk of complications from flu include:
- Children younger than 5, and especially under age 2
- Pregnant women
- People age 65 and older
- Residents of long-term care facilities
- American Indians and Alaska Natives
Flu can also cause health complications for people with certain conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or those with weakened immune systems from HIV, AIDS or cancer
People who smoke can get the flu more easily and get sicker from it. Columbia Pacific CCO members can get medical support to quit smoking. And everyone can call the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line at 800-quit-now (800-784-8669) or visit quitnow.net/Oregon for help.
Protection. Even though flu strains – and vaccines – can vary from year to year, all flu shots offer some protection. A study published in April 2018 said even a vaccine that is only 20 percent effective can still head off a lot of flu, and as many as 20 million doctor visits.
“Any protection is better than no protection,” Dr. Koreishi said. “With a flu shot, you are less likely to become sick or to spread flu to others.”
Fast, easy, free. Getting your flu shot is your best bet to stay healthy. It’s fast and easy – you can get one at your local pharmacy without an appointment; or call your doctor’s office. And it’s generally free – most health plans cover it, including Columbia Pacific CCO.