Everything You Need to Know About Flu Shots

a doctor holding a syringe

Everyone knows to get the flu shot before or during flu season, but you might be wondering what it is and why you should get it. If you’re curious about the flu and the flu shot, here’s everything you need to know.

What Is a Flu Shot?

The flu shot is a vaccine meant to help prevent you from contracting influenza, which can cause you to be hospitalized or even die. The vaccine helps your body develop antibodies against the most common strains of influenza by injecting some of the viruses into you. Your body is then able to develop these antibodies and protect against infection. The type of vaccine you receive can vary from year to year since it’s developed based on what the researchers believe will be the most common strains of flu this season.


Why Should I Get One?

The CDC recommends everyone over the age of six months receive a flu vaccine every year, but plenty of people ignore this advice. Why should you get one? The vaccine is very easy to get (some places of work even offer it) and there are very few side effects. After receiving the shot, you might feel flu-like symptoms for a bit.

Getting the vaccine protects you from infection, which could be fatal. You could also be exposing others to the flu, and those who can’t get the injection (due to age, allergies, or previous illness) will be made vulnerable by your actions. You should get the new vaccine every year because your body’s protection declines over time and the vaccine is updated each year to protect you from this season’s most likely strains of flu. A quick trip to the doctor or pharmacy could help keep you out of the hospital and make sure you go as soon as possible since the vaccine takes two weeks to become effective.


Is It Covered by Health Insurance?

Health insurance typically covers the flu shot. It’s a preventative measure, and your insurance appreciates any move you take to prevent hospitalization or a serious illness—basically, anything that will cost them more money. They’re normally more than willing to foot the bill for the flu vaccine.

Before and during flu season, you can typically walk into any pharmacy and receive the injection without an appointment. If you present your insurance card and are told it won’t be covered, you can expect to pay around $40 for the shot. $40 is still a lot cheaper than hospital bills (plus the cost of missing work), so pay the bill and get the shot.


Can I Sue If Something Goes Wrong?

Some people avoid receiving vaccines because they’re afraid of the side effects. If you get the injection and find yourself suffering from one of the side effects, you can contact a healthcare lawyer. He or she can determine if you’re due compensation. You could be suffering from a side effect due to the actual injection, such as a shoulder or neurological injury, or you might have a reaction to the vaccine itself.

Any of these problems could qualify you for compensation. However, it is possible to get the flu after receiving the vaccination, and you would most likely not be entitled to an award if that were the case. You could have been exposed to the virus before vaccination, or you might become infected with a strain that you were not vaccinated against. This is not unexpected and thus you most likely would not receive compensation for this occurring. If you do get the flu after your vaccination, it should be shorter and less severe than if you weren’t vaccinated.


The flu shot is an easy and cheap way to keep yourself healthy during flu season. You can compare health insurance with iSelect and find one that will cover the flu shot so you never have to worry about influenza. Your body will thank you.

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