This Year, Getting a Flu Shot Could Be More Important Than Ever
Getting a flu shot has always been a smart thing to do. It is the best way to protect against the flu and stop its spread. But this year—in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic—a flu shot is essential.
The typical flu is active from October through April each year. An estimated 5% to 20% of Americans get the flu each year with symptoms lasting up to two weeks. Although no one knows for certain how having the flu and the coronavirus at the same time would affect your health, it could lead to further complications and/or more intense respiratory symptoms.
The flu vaccine takes about two weeks to be effective, so it is important to get the vaccine as early as possible. Once flu season is underway, it is not too late to get vaccinated.
Other preventive measures include—
- Frequent hand-washing with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when hand-washing is not an option.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean surfaces with a household disinfectant.
- Avoid or limit interactions with infected persons.
CareFirst and Kaiser Permanente are making it easier for you to obtain your flu shot this year.
CareFirst members can receive the flu vaccine from their doctors or at participating pharmacies and retail clinics. Present your CareFirst medical card at a participating pharmacy or clinic. The selected retail pharmacy or clinic must be located in CareFirst’s Maryland, Washington, D.C. or Northern Virginia service areas. To confirm whether the pharmacy or clinic participates in CareFirst’s medical network, call the member services number on your member ID card. Members can get flu vaccines from:
- CVS Pharmacy and Minute Clinic (including those in Target stores)
- Giant Pharmacy
- Rite Aid
- Safeway Pharmacy
- ShopRite Pharmacy
- Weis Market Pharmacy
- Walgreens Healthcare Clinic
If you are a Kaiser Permanente member, there are four easy ways to get the shot. To schedule an appointment, visit kp.org and select the e-visit option or call the 24/7 appointments and advice line at 1-800-777-7904 (TTY 711).
- Drive-thru clinic: A new, convenient way for you to get a flu shot. You don’t have to leave your car.
- Medical center clinic: Flu clinics are in a designated room in each medical center.
- Walk-up clinic: Schedule an appointment at one of our open-air tents located at a few facilities in the Baltimore area.
- Flu Saturdays: Flu Saturday events will be held outdoors each Saturday through October 24 at select medical centers.