Even if you don’t usually get a flu shot and even though most of us are staying at home, socially distancing, wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and have hand sanitizer at the ready–review the guidelines for flu shots and make sure you have a plan for the 2020-21 flu season.
In 2020, there is a campaign underway to encourage people to get a flu shot. Expect flu shot immunization clinics to pop-up at churches, supermarkets, pharmacies, healthcare clinics, and other community locations.
Flu shot recommendations for 2020-21 season
Both influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are very contagious respiratory illnesses. But they are caused by different viruses.
- Flu is caused by infection with four types of influenza viruses (A, B, C and D) and various subtypes (such as A/H1N1, A/H3N2, B/Yamagata, B/Victoria, and others). Influenza types A and B cause most human illness in the flu season each year.
- COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2).
Symptoms for both illnesses are very similar: fever, chills, cough, sore throat, sore muscles, headaches or body aches, and fatigue. Because the symptoms of both diseases are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone.
Further, COVID-19 symptoms can be very different from one person to the next. They can be mild or severe, or may require hospitalization.
Therefore, a flu shot is especially recommended for the 2020-21 season. If you’ve had a flu shot and experience these symptoms, it could help you get the right diagnosis and treatment faster.
- Read the flu FAQ for the 2020-21 season from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
- Read the influenza (flu) vaccine recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health.
Flu shots are usually available from most providers beginning in September. The flu season typically lasts from October-February and begins peaking in December. Early vaccination offers the most protection, so most providers encourage vaccination in September-October. But getting a flu shot anytime during the flu season can offer you protection.
Where to get a flu shot in the Puget Sound region
For the 2020-21 season, some settings that usually provide flu vaccine (like your workplace), may not offer vaccination because of the challenges with maintaining social distancing. So plan a visit to your healthcare provider or one of the pharmacies or clinics listed below.
You can usually walk-in to store pharmacies in drug stores and grocery stores without an appointment, but visit their website or call to confirm before you head out.
There are several different types of flu shots. Pharmacists and healthcare providers can guide you to which flu shot is right for you based on your age and health history.
Most health insurance is accepted and cost is low or free from some healthcare providers.
- Bartell Drugs immunization services
- Country Doctor Community Health Centers
- HealthPoint Clinics
- Neighborcare Health clinics
- QFC pharmacies
- Safeway flu shots & immunzations
- Sea Mar Community Health Centers
- Seattle Indian Health Board Medical Services
- Walgreens immunization services
- Find a vaccination clinic in King County. Includes free and low clinics, and for people without health insurance.
- Find a public health department in Washington State on the membership list at National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).
Other vaccination recommendations for children and adults
Vaccination can protect children from harmful diseases that can be serious or deadly. Read Recommended Vaccines by Age from the CDC. Low-cost vaccines for children under 19 are available through health care providers participating in the Washington State Childhood Vaccine Program.
Adults may also be at risk for some diseases due to age, job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions. Protection from some childhood vaccines can wear off. Whooping cough and tetanus/diphtheria booster are typically updated in adults. Other vaccinations to consider as an adult include pneumonia and shingles (Zoster).
Travelers to certain countries are advised to review their immunizations and update any that may be recommended.
Learn what other vaccines you may need from the CDC.