What You Should Know About the Flu Vaccine

Flu season is here. Dr. Annika Hofstetter, whose research focuses on pediatric and adolescent vaccination, especially in high-risk populations, answered a few questions parents may have about the flu vaccine this year for On the Pulse.

Hofstetter is co-leader of the Maintenance of Certification Influenza Vaccination Project at Seattle Children’s and is a member of the Seattle Children’s Influenza Steering Committee.

Beginning Oct. 3, patients can get a flu vaccine during their visit at Seattle Children’s, including at a clinic appointment, urgent care or emergency department visit, or during hospitalization.

Who is eligible for/should get a flu shot?

Hofstetter: Individuals 6 months and older without a medical contraindication should get a flu vaccine each year.

If someone has had COVID in the most recent months, should that impact their decision to get a flu vaccine?

Hofstetter: COVID-19 and flu are both respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. So, having COVID-19 won’t protect against the flu. For that reason, if someone has had COVID-19 recently, it is still really important for them to get their flu vaccine.

Can you get a COVID booster shot and a flu vaccine at the same time?

Hofstetter: Yes, people can get their flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster shot at the same time.

What are the biggest benefits of getting a flu vaccination?

Hofstetter: Flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu. Even if you still get sick, flu vaccination can reduce the severity of illness, for example, the likelihood of getting hospitalized in the intensive care unit due to flu.

What else should people know about the flu vaccine?

Hofstetter: We saw more flu cases at the end of last season, and experts are predicting that the upcoming season could be particularly severe. We strongly recommend that everyone get their flu vaccine, ideally by the end of October, so that they are best protected when we start seeing flu activity in the community.