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Protect yourself and others with a flu vaccine

Getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever given the fact that flu season is striking during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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According to The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting yourself and others against flu viruses.

The flu vaccine prevents most cases of the flu, lowers the chance of getting and spreading the flu, makes symptoms less severe and reduces the chance of problems from the flu. It is the best way to protect yourself and others.

A flu vaccine also reduces the risk of having to go to the hospital. This is especially important this year, when hospitals may also be struggling to care for people with COVID-19.  

  • Who should get a flu vaccine?
    • Everyone age six months or older should get a flu vaccine each year, except for people with a fever or those who have had serious problems with vaccines in the past.
    • It’s most important to get one if you're at high risk for other health problems from the flu. Those at high risk include young children, pregnant women, older adults, and people who have chronic diseases or weak immune systems. Many people at higher risk from flu also seem to be at higher risk from COVID-19.
    • If you take care of someone who is at high risk, it's a good idea to get a flu vaccine. This can lower the chance that you could spread the flu to the person you care for.
    • A few people may not be able to get a flu vaccine. Children under the age of six months and those with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine. See Special Considerations Regarding Egg Allergy for more information about egg allergies and flu vaccine.
  • Key things to remember about the flu vaccine
    • Flu viruses change quickly, so you need to get a flu vaccine every year.
    • You can't get the flu from a flu vaccine.
    • Most flu vaccines protect against the four flu viruses that research suggests will be most common.
    • Each year's flu vaccine is made to protect against viruses that are likely to cause disease that year. Ask your doctor whether a vaccine is safe for you and which one may be best for you.
    • If you have a severe allergy to any part of the vaccine, have had a serious reaction to the vaccine in the past, had Guillain-Barré syndrome, or are ill, be sure to tell the person who gives the vaccine.
  • Where can you get a vaccine and how much does it cost?

    You can get a flu vaccination at:

    • Your provider’s office or any participating retail clinic
    • Members age nine and above can obtain a vaccine from any participating pharmacy nationwide, including CVS Pharmacy®, independent pharmacies, and chains like Walgreens® and Rite Aid®. See our pharmacy directory at allwaysmember.org
    • Please note that if you receive the flu shot at a participating pharmacy, your shot is covered under your prescription drug coverage. Employers that are self-insured may not offer prescription drug coverage through AllWays Health Partners. However, you still may receive the flu vaccine at other locations through AllWays Health Partners, including retail clinics and provider offices. To check the details of your coverage, please contact your employer or visit allwaysmember.org (select My coverage then Plan documents). The AllWays Member app also provides cost sharing details on your benefits.
    • AllWays Health Partners is committed to ensuring timely access to critical health care services for COVID-19 for our members. During the COVID-19 Massachusetts state of emergency, members age three and over may obtain their immunizations, including a flu vaccine, at a retail pharmacy, in addition to a provider’s office. Age restrictions vary by state. As always, we encourage members to consult their primary care provider or pediatrician regarding childhood immunizations.

    The flu vaccine is covered with no member cost sharing by your AllWays Health Partners plan when received from participating providers. Remember to bring your member ID Card wherever you receive it.

Links to helpful resources:

Massachusetts Department of Public Health - https://www.mass.gov/info-details/flu-prevention-and-vaccine-information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm

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