Flu Shots

flu shotEach year, adult flu shots are given in The Pharmacy at Magruder. The Pharmacy is located at the end of the same building as Urgent Care and is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm, and Saturday/Sunday from 9am to 5pm. No appointment is required and the Pharmacy can bill insurances, so be sure to bring your card. For pediatric flu vaccinations, please check with your primary care provider or the Ottawa County Health Department. If you plan to receive your flu shot from your Magruder Medical Group Primary Care Provider, please call their office to make an appointment.

When should I get my flu vaccine?

You should get a flu vaccine before flu viruses begin spreading in your community, since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu. Make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins. The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.

Getting vaccinated early (for example, in July or August) is likely to be associated with reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season, particularly among older adults.

And getting the flu vaccine isn't just about protecting yourself from getting the flu. It may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

Common Questions Asked Regarding the Influenza Vaccine

1. What is influenza?

Influenza (commonly known as “the flu”) is a serious respiratory infection that is caused by the influenza virus. The flu is spread easily through coughing, sneezing, or through touching contaminated surfaces or objects like unwashed hands, toys and eating utensils. The flu can be prevented by getting the flu vaccine every year and by practicing good hand washing.

2. What is the difference between the common cold and the flu?

Severity and Duration of Symptoms

Symptoms Cold

  • Fever - rare
  • Headache - rare
  • Aches and pains - sometimes, mild
  • Extreme fatigue - unusual
  • Runny, stuffy nose - common
  • Sneezing - sometimes
  • Sore throat - common
  • Chest discomfort, coughing - sometimes, mild to moderate
  • Complications - unusual

Symptoms Flu

  • Fever - usually high (102°F/39°C - 104°C), sudden onset, lasts 3-4 days
  • Headache - usual, can be severe
  • Aches and pains - usual, severe, may last 2-3 weeks or more
  • Extreme fatigue - usual early onset, can be severe
  • Runny, stuffy nose - common
  • Sneezing - common
  • Sore throat - common
  • Chest discomfort, coughing - can become severe
  • Complications - Pneumonia, respiratory failure, can be life threatening

3. Why do some people not feel well after getting the seasonal flu vaccine?

The most common reaction to the flu shot in adults has been soreness, redness or swelling at the spot where the shot was given. This usually lasts less than two days. This initial soreness is most likely the result of the body's early immune response reacting to a foreign substance entering the body. Other reactions following the flu shot are usually mild and can include a low grade fever and aches. If these reactions occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1-2 days. The most common reactions people have to flu vaccine are considerably less severe than the symptoms caused by actual flu illness.

4. Misconceptions about “Stomach Flu”-Is the “stomach flu” really the flu?

No. Many people use the term “stomach flu” to describe illnesses with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms can be caused by many different viruses, bacteria or even parasites. While vomiting, diarrhea, and being nauseous or “sick to your stomach” can sometimes be related to the flu — more commonly in children than adults — these problems are rarely the main symptoms of influenza. The flu is a respiratory disease and not a stomach or intestinal disease

5. Is it better to get the flu than the flu vaccine?

No. Flu can be a serious disease, particularly among young children, older adults and people with certain chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. Any flu infection can carry a risk of serious complications, hospitalizations or death, even among otherwise healthy children and adults. Therefore, getting vaccinated is a safer choice than risking illness to obtain immune protection.

6. Can a flu shot give you the flu?

No, a flu shot cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines given with a needle are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu vaccine viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ and are therefore not infectious, or b) with no flu vaccine viruses at all (which is the case for recombinant influenza vaccine.)

7. What about people who get a seasonal flu vaccine and still get sick with flu symptoms?

There are several reasons why someone might get flu symptoms, even after they have been vaccinated against flu.

  1. One reason is that some people can become ill from other respiratory viruses besides flu such as rhinoviruses, which are associated with the common cold, cause symptoms similar to flu, and also spread and cause illness during the flu season. The flu vaccine only protects against influenza, not other illnesses.
  2. Another explanation is that it is possible to be exposed to influenza viruses, which cause the flu, shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period after vaccination that it takes the body to develop immune protection. This exposure may result in a person becoming ill with flu before protection from the vaccine takes effect.
  3. A third reason why some people may experience flu like symptoms despite getting vaccinated is that they may have been exposed to a flu virus that is very different from the viruses the vaccine is designed to protect against. The ability of a flu vaccine to protect a person depends largely on the similarity or “match” between the viruses selected to make the vaccine and those spreading and causing illness. There are many different flu viruses that spread and cause illness among people.
  4. The final explanation for experiencing flu symptoms after vaccination is that the flu vaccine can vary in how well it works and some people who get vaccinated may still get sick.

8. Do I really need a flu vaccine every year?

Yes. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone 6 months and older, even when the viruses the vaccine protects against have not changed from the previous season. The reason for this is that a person’s immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccination is needed to get the “optimal” or best protection against the flu.

9. What about serious reactions to flu vaccine?

Serious allergic reactions to flu vaccines are very rare. If they do occur, it is usually within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. While these reactions can be life-threatening, effective treatments are available.

10. What does Quadravalent mean?

Quadravalent means there is protection against 4 different flu viruses (2 influenza A and 2 influenza B viruses).

11. Does the flu shot at Magruder contain preservatives?

The flu shots given at Magruder Hospital do not contain a preservative. This means each syringe is used once as a single dose, and there are not preservatives being injected.

12. What makes the High Dose flu vaccine different?

Vaccines that are high dose either contain an adjuvant (an ingredient added to a medication to create stronger immune response), or contain more antigen, which is designed to build up additional protection against the virus. This vaccine is use for people above the age of 65, as they are at the highest risk for flu-related deaths and they have poorer immune responses to flue vaccines than those that are younger.

13. Will a flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19?

Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however, flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. When you are protected from the flu, this will help conserve healthcare resources.

14. Why is the flu vaccine different every year?

There are many different flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses (depending on the vaccine) that research suggests will be most common.

15. Is the flu shot safe if I have an allergy to eggs?

Magruder uses an egg-based flu vaccine. The CDC recommendations specify anyone with an egg allergy can receive this flu shot. Anyone with an egg allergy who has had a reaction other than hives should receive the flu shot in a medical facility.

If you have any questions regarding the Influenza Vaccine please contact Leslie Desloover, Infection Preventionist at (419) 734-3131- extension 3415.

Reference: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Misconceptions about
Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines, September 6, 2018