During the fall months, the leaves begin to change color, children are returning to school, and indoor gatherings and celebrations are happening more often. It also signals the time to schedule a flu vaccine — the best way to protect yourself and others from getting the flu. It may be surprising to learn that it takes about two weeks after vaccination to be protected from the flu. Because of this, the ideal time to get a flu vaccine is September through November to ensure optimal protection heading into flu season. Flu vaccines are covered at no cost for Sutter Health Plus members 6 months of age and older.
“Although the flu is common, it can be dangerous for some people,” said Dr. Robert Bixler, Medical Director for Sutter Health Plus. “Whether through Sutter Walk-In Care, a Sutter flu vaccine clinic, a local pharmacy or their doctor, it’s important for members to know they have several convenient ways to get a flu vaccine to help them stay healthier this season.”
Flu vaccines are safe and cannot transmit the flu because they do not contain any living viruses. They are also effective. Preliminary estimates from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that people who were vaccinated against the flu last season were about 40% to 70% less likely to be hospitalized because of flu illness or related complications.
Fast Flu Facts
- The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every year.
- Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly and can include fever, headache, cough and fatigue.
- People with the flu are most contagious three to four days after illness begins.
- The flu can lead to serious health complications for adults 65 years of age and older, children younger than 5 years old, and people who are pregnant, have chronic medical conditions or have weakened immune systems.
- The CDC recommended enhanced flu vaccinations again this year for people 65 and older, as they offer greater protection.
Ways to Get a Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine is available at no cost to members by:
- Scheduling an appointment for members 6 months and older at a Sutter flu vaccine clinic or Sutter Walk-In Care through MHO or by calling (844) 987-6115.
- Visiting a network pharmacy, such as a CVS, Rite Aid or Walgreens (call ahead to check availability). Find a pharmacy here.
- Scheduling an appointment with a primary care physician or pediatrician. Already have an upcoming appointment? Ask about getting a flu shot at the next visit.
For additional assistance with scheduling a flu vaccine appointment, please call Member Services weekdays from 8:00 am – 7:00 pm at (855) 315-5800. Learn more about flu vaccines at sutterhealth.org/flu.