Do your part to stay healthy: remember your vaccine
Don’t forget your vaccine… your flu vaccine, that is. COVID-19 vaccines may be getting all the attention, but the flu vaccine is still important. It’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
That’s why the CDC is recommending you get a flu shot in September or October. It takes about two weeks for a flu shot to give you the highest level of flu-fighting antibodies, so you shouldn’t wait until the middle of flu season to get it.
Getting a flu shot will not protect against COVID-19, but it will decrease your chances of getting the flu and its related health risks. It can also help to prevent spreading the flu, which puts many people in the hospital each year.
The flu alone kills thousands of people each year and sends hundreds of thousands more to the hospital. As a result, the CDC recommends that most people older than six months get a yearly flu shot. Avoiding the weeks of fever, severe headaches, and muscle aches and pains makes getting a flu shot worth your time.
A person who doesn’t know they have the flu can still spread it, so the decision to get a flu shot will also help protect vulnerable members of the community, including people with existing health problems. Those considered vulnerable have the highest risk of serious, even life-threatening, complications from the flu.
Where can I get a flu shot?
If your agency or higher education institution does not schedule an on-site vaccination clinic for employees, check with your primary care provider about getting your shot at an in-network pharmacy or retail health clinic such as those located in a grocery store.
HealthSelectSM plan participants who need help locating in-network providers can call a BCBSTX Personal Health Assistant toll-free at (800) 252-8039, Monday–Friday 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. CT.
HealthSelect participants may also be able to get the flu vaccine through the HealthSelectSM Prescription Drug Plan (PDP), administered by OptumRx. To locate in-network pharmacies, visit the HealthSelect PDP website or call an OptumRx customer care representative toll-free at (855) 828-9834.
And if you haven’t gotten vaccinated against COVID-19 yet, it’s a very good idea to do that, too—to protect yourself and others against a potentially deadly disease that is still very much with us. COVID-19 vaccines are provided at no cost, even if you don’t have health insurance. Visit the Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler, a statewide tool provided by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to help anyone age 16 or older schedule a vaccination in their area.