Take Your Shot Against the Flu

This fall, experts cautioned that spikes in cases of COVID-19 due to the Delta variant1 could coincide with a simultaneous, rough flu season after an exceptionally low number of flu cases last year. Their recommendation to protect yourself and loved ones? Get a flu shot.

As you know, the University of California system requires all staff and administrative employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. UC also issued an executive order (PDF) mandating that all those who learn, live or work on-site at a UC facility receive a flu vaccine by November 19. Even if you're not required to be vaccinated, UC encourages all community members to receive a flu shot to help keep all of us healthy this fall and winter. Consider this:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that this year's flu vaccine has been modified to keep you healthy against four different flu viruses.2
  • The CDC says that you can safely receive both vaccinations at the same time; check with your doctor to confirm this approach makes sense for your or a family member's personal situation.
  • While the flu vaccine may not be 100% effective at preventing infection, it has been shown to lessen the severity of symptoms if you are infected. It has also been shown to reduce the severity of other non-flu respiratory infections and the risk of serious complications that can result in hospitalization and death.2

Certain Individuals at Increased Risk

Adults age 65 and older and those with chronic health conditions are at a higher risk for developing complications from the flu, according to the CDC. Additionally, people with weakened immune systems, those who are pregnant, and the elderly living in nursing homes also are at a higher risk.3

And since the flu spreads person to person, with people most contagious in the first three to four days after they become sick (even if they don't have flu-like symptoms yet), it's even more important to protect yourself and your loved ones as events and daily life move from being remote to in person.4 The CDC expects flu cases to be closer to pre-pandemic levels, especially as COVID-19 restrictions like masks and social distancing have been lifted in various places.1

Remember that a flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine are two different vaccines. The flu vaccine cannot protect against COVID-19 and vice versa. It's important to get both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines to protect yourself against both viruses.

Flu Vaccines Cost You Nothing

An annual flu vaccination is 100% covered by the UC Blue & Gold HMO when you receive it at your doctor's office or a Health Net pharmacy that offers flu shots. You can also get a flu shot at a CVS MinuteClinic® for a $20 copayment.

1 COVID tracking data, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

2 Frequently Asked Influenza (Flu) Questions: 2021-2022 Season, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

3 People at Higher Risk of Flu Complications, CDC

4 How Flu Spreads, CDC

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