FAQ’s Influenza Vaccination

Q: When does flu season begin?

A: While seasonal influenza (flu) viruses are detected year-round in the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.

Q: How does the flu virus spread?

A:People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. The flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

Q: If I have the flu, when am I contagious?

A: You may be able to pass on flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

· People with flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins.

  • Some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.

  • Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others with flu viruses for an even longer time.

Q: How serious a problem is influenza in the U.S.?

A: Influenza is the most frequent cause of death from a vaccine-preventable disease in the United States after COVID-19.

Q: Is the university requiring a flu vaccine this year?

A: Yes. As we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, influenza season is approaching. Medical experts around the world are warning of a potential "twindemic" of flu and COVID-19 cases this winter, and locally, Excela Health officials have expressed concern about a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations among unvaccinated individuals.

· Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu

· Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.

· Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization.

· Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness.

Q: When does CDC recommend starting influenza vaccination?

A: For most people, vaccination should begin now and, ideally, be done by the end of October.

Q: Since influenza virus circulation was very limited during the 2020–21 influenza season, what might be expected for the 2021–22 influenza season?

A: The timing and severity of influenza seasons are always unpredictable. Influenza viruses circulated at low levels in 2020–21 while measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were widely adopted, including social distancing, mask wearing, and reduction in travel. As the use of these COVID-19 mitigation measures have decreased, increases in the circulation of other non-influenza respiratory viruses have occurred. Thus, it is likely that influenza virus circulation will also increase during 2021–22.

Q: May influenza vaccines be given at the same time as other vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines?

A: Yes. CDC’s clinical guidance for the use of COVID-19 vaccines states that any vaccine may be given on the same day or any day before or after COVID-19 vaccination, at a different anatomic site. According to the CDC’s “General Best Practice Guidelines for Immunization,” simultaneously administering all vaccines for which a person is eligible at the time of a visit increases the probability that a person will be fully vaccinated by the appropriate time.

Q: What is I have an egg allergy; can I still get the flu vaccine?

A: ACIP recommends that people with a history of egg allergy who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg should receive influenza vaccine without specific precautions (except the standard 15-minute post-vaccination observation period for syncope). Any age-appropriate vaccine may be used. For people who report having had an anaphylactic reaction to egg (more severe than hives), if a vaccine other than Flucelvax Quadrivalent or Flublok Quadrivalent is given, the vaccine should be administered in an inpatient or outpatient medical setting supervised by a healthcare provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.

Q: What are the contraindications and precautions for people with a history of a severe allergic reaction to a previous influenza vaccination?

A: A severe allergic reaction to any influenza vaccine is a contraindication to receiving additional doses of the same vaccine or receiving any egg-based influenza vaccines.

Q: If I was already diagnosed with influenza, should I still get the flu shot?

A: Because more than one type or subtype of influenza virus can circulate in any given influenza season, providers should offer influenza vaccination to unvaccinated people throughout the influenza season, including people who may have had an influenza illness already in the season.

Q: I am in in isolation or quarantine because of COVID-19, can I still be vaccinated against influenza?

A: In general, people who are in quarantine following exposure to someone with COVID-19 or in isolation due to infection with COVID-19 should not be brought to a vaccination location to avoid exposing others to COVID-19. For people with moderate or severe COVID-19, vaccination should generally be deferred until they have recovered. For patients with mild or asymptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2, influenza vaccination may also be deferred to avoid confusing COVID-19 symptoms with potential influenza vaccination-related reactions. Aside from these considerations, there are no other reasons to further defer influenza vaccination following infection with COVID-19.

Q: Can influenza viruses circulate at the same time as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19?

A: Yes. Both viruses co-circulated at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, although the number of influenza viruses detected in the U.S. decreased substantially beginning in the spring of 2020. The extent to which SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses will co-circulate during this upcoming influenza is unknown, however, providers should prepare for increases in influenza as the use of prevention measures like masks, and social distancing decrease.

Q: How do I schedule a flu shot?

Monday October 4, McKenna Center Walking Track

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Flu and COVID-19 First or Second Dose. Register at: http://haydenspharmacy.com/setonhill-flu-vaccination-page/

3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - Pfizer COVID-19 Booster Dose. Please bring your Vaccination Card to the clinic. Register at: http://haydenspharmacy.com/seton-hill-vaccination-page/

Tuesday, October 19, Seton Hill Arts Center Second Floor Lobby

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. - Flu, Pneumonia and COVID-19 First or Second Dose. Register at: http://haydenspharmacy.com/setonhill-flu-vaccination-page/

Tuesday, November 2, McKenna Center Walking Track

3 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Flu and COVID-19 First or Second Dose. Register at: http://haydenspharmacy.com/setonhill-flu-vaccination-page/

5 p.m. to 6 p.m. - Pfizer COVID-19 Booster Dose. Please bring your Vaccination Card to the clinic. Register at: http://haydenspharmacy.com/seton-hill-vaccination-page/


Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Immunization Action Coalition (IAC)