Getting a flu shot is more important than ever this year, with the virus that causes COVID-19 – and the virus that causes flu – both spreading this fall and winter. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for all people older than six months.
While there is disagreement among experts about the perfect time to get a flu shot, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October.
“The flu shot is important for everyone because it protects ourselves as individuals but also protects our families and those around us,” said Matthew Stiles, MD, with Baptist Health Medical Group Family Medicine in Bardstown. “If we don’t get the flu, then we can’t pass it along to loved ones.”
Typically, the flu season in Kentucky/Indiana begins in October or November, however we are already seeing influenza infections in Kentucky during September. If the flu shot is given too early, young children and adults over age 65 may see the vaccine’s strength weaken in the final weeks of the flu season, making people in these two groups more susceptible to catching the virus. Flu shots last about six months.
The influenza vaccine takes two weeks to be effective and you can catch the flu during those two weeks.
There are many strains of the flu virus, and there’s no guarantee that the combination chosen for this year means you won’t get the flu. However, getting the vaccine provides benefits even if the flu bug bites you.
“It is always better to get a flu shot. In rare cases, some people do still get the flu but even then they are likely to be much less sick,” Dr. Stiles added. “Getting the flu shot lowers your chances of having to go to the hospital. And if you are hospitalized, you are less likely to be in an intensive care unit.”
Adequate supplies of flu vaccine are expected to be available this season.
Getting a flu shot
Baptist Health Hardin locations have flu vaccine on hand.
Flu shots cost $40 for the basic flu shot and $70 for the high-dose vaccine which is recommended for those over age 65. The flu shot may be covered by your insurance.
To help maintain physical distancing, Baptist Health Hardin will also offer curbside clinics at the following locations:
- Baptist Health Medical Group Family Medicine in Bardstown (3615 E. John Rowan Blvd.)
- Baptist Health Medical Group Internal Medicine and Pediatrics in Radcliff (75 Nature Trail Suite 3)
Scheduled curbside clinics will be Saturday, September 26 and Saturday, October 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For future dates, to print out your paperwork ahead of time, and for more information about the flu, go to BaptistHealth.com/FluShot.
Who should get the shot
Baptist Health Hardin strongly supports the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendation that everyone six months of age and older should get the flu shot. In particular we especially encourage certain high -risk groups to be vaccinated, including:
- Children age six through 59 months and their caregivers
- Women who are or will be pregnant during flu season
- Those age 50 or older
- Those with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater
- Anyone over six-months-old with chronic health problems and their caregivers
- Nursing home and long-term care facility residents
- Healthcare workers. Baptist Health requires its employees to have a flu shot unless there are medical or religious reasons why the person cannot be vaccinated.
Getting a flu shot is one of the best ways to prevent the flu, with its fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches.