Let’s Knock Out Flu Again, Washington

Best protection is still a flu vaccine.

Does anyone remember last flu season? You don’t? That’s because Washington had its first recorded death-free flu season last year. Let’s all pull together to do it again — our communities are counting on us.

Why was flu activity so low last year, and will it be the same this year?

Flu activity was unusually low last year. That’s partially because Washingtonians did such a great job getting their flu vaccines last year. But it was also a result of the COVID-19 safety measures like masking, staying home, and limiting gatherings.

This year, many COVID-19 safety measures are lifted, and people are active again. Some are returning to work in-person, and most children are back to in-person school. This means we have a much higher risk of exposure to the flu virus. And with last year’s low activity, most people weren’t exposed to flu viruses to develop natural immunity this season.

Getting the flu vaccine is your best defense at protection from the flu. And this year, it’s more important than ever to get vaccinated! The flu vaccine can keep you from spreading the flu to others during the COVID-19 pandemic and helps keep our hospitals from getting even more overwhelmed than they already are.

Should I still get the flu vaccine if I’m usually healthy?

Yes, we recommend the flu vaccine for everyone aged six months and older. The flu vaccine protects not only you, but also the people you’re around. Flu can be serious even in healthy people, but some people are at higher risk including:

  • People aged 65 years and older
  • Young children, especially those under 5 years of age
  • Pregnant people
  • People with medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or neurologic conditions

While the flu can be mild in most people, it’s important to remember how serious it really is. Sadly, over 900 people in Washington died from flu-related illness in the past 5 years, including many children. The flu vaccine saves lives.

When should I get the flu vaccine?

You should get your flu vaccine before the end of October for the best protection through the fall and winter months when flu is most likely to spread. You can even get your COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time.

Although getting a flu vaccine by the end of October is best, it’s not too late to get one later. But remember, it takes up to two weeks for the vaccine to start working in your body, so it’s smart to get one before traveling and meeting up for the holidays.

Where can I get a flu vaccine?

Lots of places! You can visit your local doctor’s office, pharmacy, or clinic event in your area. Many large grocery store pharmacies also offer flu vaccines without an appointment. It’s quick and easy while you shop. Families can also call the Help Me Grow Washington Hotline at 1–800–322–2588 (language assistance available) for help finding vaccines and other health resources. If you’re working, you can also check with your employer to see if they host on-site clinics for employees.

Does my insurance cover the flu vaccine?

Yes! Most insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicare part B, cover the cost of flu vaccine for adults. If you do not have insurance, you may still be able to get the flu vaccine at no cost. Talk to your local health department for more information.

Children aged 18 and under in Washington can get a flu vaccine and other recommended vaccines at no cost. Some providers may charge an administration fee to give the vaccine, but you can ask them to waive the fee if you cannot afford it.

For more information, visit www.KnockOutFlu.org. Together, we can knock out flu again, Washington!

More information

This blog is accurate as of the date of posting. Information changes rapidly, so check the state’s COVID-19 website for the most up-to-date info at coronavirus.wa.gov. You can also sign up to be notified whenever we post new articles.

The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to everyone 12 and older. For more information about the vaccine, visit CovidVaccineWA.org and use the vaccine locator tool to find an appointment. The COVID-19 vaccine is provided at no cost to you.

WA Notify can alert you if you’ve been near another user who tested positive for COVID-19. Add WA Notify to your phone today: WANotify.org

Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington State may be found at our website. You can also contact the Department of Health call center at 1–800–525–0127 and press # from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday — Sunday and observed state holidays. Language assistance is available.

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Washington State Department of Health

Washington State Department of Health

Protecting and improving the health of people in Washington State.