Flu: Immunizations

 

Getting immunized is the best way to avoid influenza – and to protect those around you. Get immunized now and be protected for the 2013-2014 season. Park Nicollet offers convenient family influenza vaccine appointments at all of our locations. And unlike retail pharmacies, we can immunize the entire family – including children as young as 6 months old – and offer FluMist for healthy, non-pregnant people  ages 2 through 49. 

About the vaccine
Each season, the influenza vaccine is formulated to protect against the influenza viruses that will be most common. The viruses in the vaccine can change each year based on international surveillance and scientists’ estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year. For the 2013-2014 influenza season, Park Nicollet has purchased vaccine that protects against four influenza strains (quadrivalent).

There are two types of vaccines:

  • The flu shot is 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 age 6 months and older. 
  • The nasal-spray flu vaccine (FluMist) is made with live, weakened influenza viruses. The viruses in the nasal spray vaccine do not cause the flu. The nasal spray vaccine is approved for use in healthy people ages 2 through 49 who are not pregnant. 

Pricing and Insurance

Most insurance plans cover influenza vaccine.  If you have insurance, your insurance plan will be billed.  You will receive a billing statement from Park Nicollet if your insurance plan does not pay for the vaccine in its entirety.  Park Nicollet participates in the Minnesota Vaccines for Children program. Children who do not have health insurance receive influenza vaccine free at Park Nicollet through this program. If you are an adult without health insurance and would like to pay out-of-pocket, you will be billed.

Influenza vaccine myths and facts

Myth: If you're healthy, you won't get influenza
Facts:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends influenza vaccine for everyone 6 months and older, not just for people whoa re older or have chronic illnesses. 
  • Anyone can get influenza, even healthy, strong young people. Influenza can be very serious and even cause death. 
  • Some people infected with influenza experience mild or no symptoms. You could infect other people and not know it. Older adults and people with chronic diseases or weakened immune systems are especially at risk. 
  • You can spread influenza and infect others one day before your influenza symptoms develop and up to five days after symptoms appear.
  • Influenza viruses can travel six feet when you sneeze or cough. Or if someone touches a surface you have touched, that person can get sick. 

Myth: Influenza vaccine doesn't work
Facts:

  • Influenza vaccine is not 100 percent effective. Some people who get immunized still get influenza. Typically, though, the illness is milder. 
  • The most effective strategy for protecting yourself and others from influenza is immunization.
  • The influenza vaccine works best in younger, healthy individuals.
  • Older adults and people with chronic diseases or weakened immune systems typically do not respond as well to the vaccine and are at increased risk for serious complications. So people who live with or care for individuals at increased risk need to get immunized to protect them.
  • Getting immunized is not just about you. It is about protecting other people, too. 

Myth: Influenza vaccine causes side effects
Facts:

  • Over the last 50 years, injectable influenza vaccines (the shots) have had very good safety records. Hundreds of millions of people in the United States have safely received influenza vaccines. 
  • The injectable influenza vaccine (the shot) that Park Nicollet usually administers does not contain the preservative thimerosal. 
  • Serious side effects are extremely rare.
  • Mild side effects from the injectable vaccine include: soreness at injection site, mild fever, and muscle aches. 
  • Mild side effects from the intranasal (sprayed into the nose) vaccine include: runny nose, headache, sore throat, cough. 

Myth: You can get the flu from the vaccine
Facts:

  • Influenza vaccines cannot cause influenza because the viruses are killed or weakened
  • People mistakenly think they got the flu from the vaccine, when in fact they may have been exposed to influenza viruses before they were vaccinated.
  • People often think any illness with fever, cold symptoms, vomiting and diarrhea is the flu.