Flu Vaccine Winter/Spring 2021
All Tufts faculty, staff and affiliates are strongly encouraged to get the flu vaccine this season.
Reasons to get the flu vaccine:
- Even healthy people can become sick with the flu and experience serious complications, including pneumonia.
- Older people, young children, pregnant women and anyone with a medical condition such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease are particularly vulnerable to the flu.
- The annual flu vaccine is our most powerful weapon in preventing the flu, an illness that hit between 39 and 56 million Americans last year, of whom an estimated 24,000-62,000 died.
- Protecting yourself and others is especially important this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has eliminated the requirement for students attending colleges and universities in person to receive the flu vaccine.
However, we continue to encourage you to get a flu shot. Reducing the chances for a flu outbreak on campus via widespread vaccination is a critical strategy for protecting our community and preserving healthcare resources during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
We encourage getting a flu shot as soon as possible as it is already late in the season to be vaccinated. Getting sick with the flu is not something one would want to risk during a pandemic, and it takes a couple of weeks for the vaccine to achieve maximum effectiveness.
You can go to a local pharmacy to get a flu shot. If you do, please remember to bring your insurance card for billing and to upload your vaccine documentation to the secure Patient Portal.
Questions? Please call Health Service at (617) 627-3350.
Thank you for your efforts to stay healthy and keep others safe as well.
In the United States, flu season occurs in the fall and winter. While influenza viruses circulate year-round, most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, but activity can last as late as May. The overall health impact (e.g., infections, hospitalizations, and deaths) of a flu season varies from season to season.
CDC collects, compiles, and analyzes information on influenza activity year-round in the United States and produces FluView, a weekly surveillance report, and FluView Interactive, which allows for more in-depth exploration of influenza surveillance data. The Weekly U.S. Influenza Summary Update is updated each week from October through May.
- Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.
- Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. For example, during 2018-2019, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 4.4 million influenza illnesses, 2.3 million influenza-associated medical visits, 58,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 3,500 influenza-associated deaths.
- During seasons when the flu vaccine viruses are similar to circulating flu viruses, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 percent to 60 percent.
- Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working age adults, and older adults.
- Flu vaccine prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year. For example, during 2018-2019 flu vaccination prevented an estimated 58,000 flu-related hospitalizations.
- A 2014 study showed that flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74% during flu seasons from 2010-2012.
- In recent years, flu vaccines have reduced the risk of flu-associated hospitalizations among older adults on average by about 40%.
- A 2018 study showed that from 2012 to 2015, flu vaccination among adults reduced the risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with flu by 82 percent.
- Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions
- Flu vaccination has been associated with lower rates of cardia events in people with heart disease, especially among those who had had a cardiac event in the past year.
- Flu vaccination can reduce worsening and hospitalization for flu-related chronic lung disease, such as in persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Flu vaccination also has been shown in separate studies to be associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with chronic lung disease.
No, a flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness.
While a flu vaccine cannot give you flu illness, there are different side effects that may be associated with getting a flu shot or a nasal spray flu vaccine. These side effects are mild and short-lasting, especially when compared to symptoms of bad case of flu.
A flu shot: The viruses in a flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that may occur are:
- Soreness, redness, and/or swelling where the shot was given
- Headache (low grade)
- Muscle aches
- Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.
- While more is learned every day, there is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it. This page compares COVID-19 and flu, given the best available information to date.
Check with your doctor promptly if you are at high risk of serious flu complications and you get flu symptoms. People at high risk of flu complications include young children, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.