We’ve all been there, you don’t really want to go out but everyone in the group is excited and somehow you all feed off each other’s energy. A dinner, a night out, any event is made better by the group. But at the same time, a party’s mood can shift with just one person, and when one person is off, you all feel it.
Just like our energy impacts our friends, so does our health! When one person brings germs into an apartment, classroom, or office, everyone is exposed. Getting a flu shot is important for your personal health but even more important for herd immunity, or public health’s version of “the life of the party.”
Herd immunity means an entire population is better protected from infectious diseases or illnesses (like the flu) when a larger percentage of the community becomes immune to the disease. Getting a flu vaccine is bigger than you–just like any friend group or party. Since immunity is built through vaccines, your choice to get a flu shot helps protects your friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
Being vaccinated also protects the most vulnerable members of our communities like babies and the elderly who are often unable to get vaccines themselves. You may not be friends with any babies or older Americans but I’m sure one of your friends, coworkers, or classmates does spend time with members of these populations. Beyond the young and old, other people that you interact with could be more vulnerable to the negative impacts of the flu. As Aaron Carroll wrote in the NYT in January 2018, “get immunized to protect those who can’t protect themselves.” Check out his article here to learn more about the importance of flu shots for community wellness.
Now that you’re determined not to be the public health buzzkill, here are some tips on where and how to get a flu shot. I encourage you to make a plan to get the shot! It’s a lot like voting, if you don’t plan when and where you will vote, you’re less likely to follow through!
How much do they cost?
Almost everyone can get a flu shot for free (totally free–no copay, no coinsurance) through their insurance. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, vaccinations are 100% covered by insurance. Beyond being completely free, CVS will give you $5 off a $25 purchase when you get your free flu shot. That’s right, you can get a discount AND increase the wellness of your community?
Where can I get a flu shot?
Finding a place to get a flu shot is incredibly easy! Many primary care offices offer walk-in lab hours when you can get a vaccine without even making an appointment. Call your doctor’s office to see when and how you can get your shot!
CVS pharmacy and CVS minute clinic also offer flu shots at nearly 11,000 locations across the country. Click here to find a CVS offering flu shots near you. You can also find a local Walgreen’s and make an appointment to get a flu shot, here. Through August of 2019, for every flu vaccine administered, Walgreen’s will donate to the United Nations Foundation to provide life-saving vaccines to a child in a developing country.
You can also use HealthMap’s vaccine finder, a tool developed by researchers and epidemiologists at Boston Children’s Hospital, to search for places in your area where you can get a flu shot or any other type of vaccine. You simply type in your zip code!
Oh, so you don’t believe in vaccines?
If you’re an anti-vaxer: a) this website probably isn’t for you because I’m not here to debate science and b) check out the World Health Organization’s page breaking down six common misconceptions about vaccines.
- Flu shots help protect you but also your friends and family from exposure to the flu.
- Getting a flu shot also helps protect vulnerable members of our communities who are less able to fight off the flu like babies and the elderly.
- Getting a flu shot is free—all insurance plans cover the cost of vaccinations (thanks Obama!).
- Call your doctor, stop in a CVS or Walgreen’s, or use HealthMap’s vaccine finder to find a place to get your flu shot.