About the Seasonal Flu Shot

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The viruses in the vaccine change each year based on international surveillance and scientists' estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year. About 2 weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against influenza virus infection develop in the body.

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Facts About the Seasonal Flu

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe illness, and can at times even include death.

  • Every year in the United States, on average:
  • 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu;
  • More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications; and
  • Deaths from flu-related causes range from 3,000 to 49,000.

Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at increased risk for serious flu complications.

Source: Key Facts About Influenza (Flu) & Flu Vaccine 

The single best way to reduce your chance of suffering from the flu is to get a flu vaccination each year.

  • The "flu shot" - an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.

Source: Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine

Yearly flu vaccination should begin in September, or as soon as vaccine is available, and continue throughout the flu season which can last as late as May. This is because the timing and duration of flu seasons vary. While flu season can begin as early as October, most of the time seasonal flu activity peaks in January, February or later.

Source: Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine

All persons aged 6 months and older are recommended for annual vaccination, with rare exception.

Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk for serious complications from influenza. See People at High Risk of Developing Flu–Related Complications for a full list of age and health factors that confer increased risk.

Source: Vaccination: Who Should Do It, Who Should Not and Who Should Take Precautions

  • Children younger than 6 months are too young to get a flu shot
  • People with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine. This might include gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients. See Special Considerations Regarding Egg Allergy for more information about egg allergies and flu vaccine.

Note: There are certain flu shots that have different age indications. For example people younger than 65 years of age should not get the high-dose flu shot and people who are younger than 18 years old or older than 64 years old should not get the intradermal flu shot.

Source: Vaccination: Who Should Do It, Who Should Not and Who Should Take Precautions

  • If you have an allergy to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Talk to your doctor about your allergy.
  • If you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralyzing illness, also called GBS). Some people with a history of GBS should not get this vaccine. Talk to your doctor about your GBS history.
  • If you are not feeling well. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms.

Source: Vaccination: Who Should Do It, Who Should Not and Who Should Take Precautions

Yes, each year's flu shot is formulated differently. Therefore, each year's vaccine will protect you from slightly different circulating flu viruses. It is important to get your flu shot every year. Last year's flu shot will not provide you with sufficient immunity this year.

Worksite: Available free of charge to employer groups who meet minimum requirements and are interested in receiving the flu shot. Non-members may also be participants at a discounted rate, although priority is given to members. Check with your employer to find out if it is available at your worksite.

Get your flu vaccination at a UHA-participating retail pharmacy within the Express Scripts network like Walgreens, CVS, Pharmacare and many more.  

Search for a UHA-participating pharmacy at: uhahealth.com/providers/search

  • Simply show your UHA member ID card at the participating pharmacy.
  • All flu vaccines are covered at $0 co-pay.

Please call your local pharmacy to check the availability of flu shots at their location.

Administrative fee is covered according to your UHA plan benefit.

At school: Check flu.hawaii.gov/SFAS.html for information on the Stop Flu At School Program.

Click here for a list of vendors that will be administering worksite seasonal flu shots for free of charge to UHA members 18 years of age or older.